The American Legion, DAV and VFW departments in Arizona founded the Unified Arizona Veterans in December 1981 to act as a unified voice for veteran affairs in Arizona. The Hopi Tribal post (Lori Piestewa Post 80) asked me to send this news release.
On Saturday, June 6, the Unified Arizona Veterans (UAV) presented the inaugural "Army Specialist Lori Ann Piestewa Veteran Family Scholarship." The scholarships – designated for the children of servicemen and women who were killed in action – were presented to Specialist Pietstewa’s two children.
Making the presentations was the UAV Scholarship Chair, COL Rob Welch, U.S. Army (ret.). Assisting in the presentation was the director of the Arizona Dept. of Veterans’ Services, COL Wanda Wright, U.S. Air Force (ret.), Hopi Nation Vice Chair Clark W. Tenakhongva, an Army veteran of the Panama and Grenada conflicts, and Percy Baca Piestewa, grandmother of the recipients.
Lori Ann Piestewa, a member of the Hopi Tribe, was born in Tuba City. She enlisted in the Army at 21 (born 14 Dec 1979, died 23 Mar 2003) and deployed to Iraq in 2002. She was killed in action on 23 March 2003, becoming the first Native American female to fall in combat on foreign soil.
The UAV was formed in 1981 by the American Legion, DAV and VFW to provide support for Arizona’s veterans and their families. In 2016 the UAV awarded their first college scholarships to Arizona’s veterans. This year marks the first time the UAV has expanded its scholarship program to include the children of veterans killed in action, and chose to name the scholarship in honor of Specialist Piestewa’s sacrifice.
Brandon Whiterock is the eldest child of Lori Piestewa and is a student at Coconino Community College. He is enrolled in a transition program leading to a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University.
Carla Piestewa is a student at Grand Canyon University and is enrolled as a biology major with an emphasis in pre-medicine.
UAV's web page: azuav.org .
Photo: L-R; UAV Scholarship Chair Colonel Rob Welch; Vice Chairman Hopi Tribal Nation Clark W. Tenakhongva; recipient Carla L. Piestewa, daughter of Lori Ann Piestewa; grandmother Percy Baca Piestewa, who raised Lori Ann’s children after her death; recipient Brandon T. Whiterock, son of Lori Ann Piestewa; director of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services Colonel Wanda Wright.