SMW Chapter 34 luncheon at their new location; The Bridge at Paradise Valley


By: Megan Way | Photos by Su Phelps and Lawrence Oravetz
On July 14th, the Society of Military Widows Chapter 34 brought their chapter to their new meeting place, The Bridge at Paradise Valley. Some of veteran and veteran widows’ residents from the Bridge also joined SMW 34 for their meeting, (more than half of The Bridge’s residents are veterans or veteran spouses). Honorary member Ken Hill led everyone in the pledge of allegiance. Attending his first SMW 34 luncheon was Guest Chaplain Olen Crowe along his wife, Dianne.
In celebration of the new venue, two of this month’s guest speakers came from political offices! Guest speakers Hunter Cain, Director of Community Outreach services for Congresswoman Dina Titus, Alanna Simpson representative for U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.
Pride in Purity founder Ashurst, retired U.S. Air Force Veteran and honorary member of SMW Chapter 34 was warmly received by the chapter. President of SMW Chapter 34, Su Phelps affectionally referred to the representatives as her extended family. Hunter Cain and Alanna Simpson explained the current bills related to military widows that Congresswoman Dina Titus and U.S. Senator Cortez Masto currently co-sponsors. Alanna Simpson said, “Senate bill 1370; it’s to help taxation on military surviving spouse and their children and (U.S. Senator Cortez Masto) has been a co-sponsor to help fix the off-set for SBP and DIC” Another great surprise at the meeting was sister SMW 34 member Mrs. Claire Manning-Dick.
Her husband was a part of the Tet offensive in the Vietnam war. She is also a proud veteran’s daughter and the Past President of the Southwest Region of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.. What made her presence so exciting for everyone was how far she’d come. From Shoshone-Paiute Tribe, over 550 miles out at the top of Nevada, Claire took a 2 ½ hour drive to Boise, Idaho and then a 1 ½ hour flight back to Nevada, into Las Vegas. Back at her tribe she has been a student counselor for Nevada school district for 35 years. “She is so excited and happy to be here with us after the long trip; She is a very special member to us” says Su Phelps. At the end of the meeting, Babette Kellner, Treasurer of SMW Chapter 34 won the money raffle.
SMW Chapter 34 member said they were “so happy for her to win, she’s really our superstar.” For more information about Society of Military Widows Chapter 34 or to attend their next luncheon go to