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Published On: Wed, Nov 28th, 2012

Gov. Brewer Appoints Navajo Veteran to Arizona Veterans Service Advisory Commission

Nov. 28 | [email protected]

Jeff Begay.

PHOENIX – Jefferey Begay, a member of the Navajo Nation and a Vietnam Combat veteran was appointed to serve on the Arizona Veterans Service Advisory Commission, an appoint made by the Governor herself.

Begay was a Sgt in the U.S. Army, his MOS was a Radio Operator, and served in Vietnam November 1967- November 1968.

Begay said with pride that he is proud to serve again, “I was recommended by Kristine Fire Thunder, Executive Director, Arizona Indian Affairs Commission.  I was not sure of my chances for an appointment but because I am a proud Vietnam veteran and come from a warrior family of veterans, am very active in veteran activities, I submitted my application.  I know how important it is to help veterans who in the past have not been recognized”

According to the Arizona Department of Veteran Services, there are approximately 600,000 Veterans living in Arizona, the commission main role is, In accordance with Arizona Revised Statute 41-602, it states, the Commission shall provide policy advice to the Governor and the Director regarding veterans’ issues.

Begay also said when he returned from Vietnam, people did not like them because of the unpopular war. “Upon my return from Vietnam in 1968, I will never forget the angry crowd of young college kids at LAX airport waiting as we deplaned and were calling us returning war veterans foul names and spitting on us.   What a shock and sad realization that our year in combat was meaningless to our American people.”, adding “I put my uniform away and did not wear it nor talk about my military service until recently when our young troopers were returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  I made a commitment to always honor all veterans and became involved in welcoming our warrior’s home.” he said.

Jeff plays an active role in his community by being a guard dancer in powwow and is a former member of the Arizona Territory Gourd Society, “I am a former member of the Arizona Territory Gourd Society and am now a freelance gourd dancer.  I participate in this honorable warrior dance because it is a spiritual healing ceremony for our warriors and their families.  I understand that the gourd dance is a Native Southern dance and I try to maintain the traditions and protocol of this ceremony for its sacredness.  I take great pleasure and gain much satisfaction by in being involved in veteran activities and have become recognized for my dedication to their causes.”

Begay is a graduate of Arizona State University, Fulton School of Engineering, and has a Bachelor of Science degree from the Del E. Webb School of Construction Management and currently work as Director of Client Services for Kitchell Contractors, Inc. a national construction firm. he is also a board member for the Navajo Chamber of Commerce.

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Gov. Brewer Appoints Navajo Veteran to Arizona Veterans Service Advisory Commission