The following are the pictures and biographies of the Arizona MOAA members in the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2016. The presenters are Michele Reagan, Arizona Secretary of State [on the left] and Colonel Wanda Wright, USAF, (Ret) Arizona Department of Veterans Services Director [on the right].
John H. Black – Coronado Chapter MOAA: Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1943, John Black was commissioned from Infantry OCS in 1966, served in Vietnam and Desert Storm, is the recipient of the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, and retired as Colonel, US Army, in 1995. John founded the Military Intelligence Corps Association (MICA), the national professional organization of the Army’s Military Intelligence Corps, serving as its first President for 8 years. As Scholarship Chair, Coronado Chapter, Military Officers Association of America, John enabled the Chapter to present $65,000 of scholarships to 65 students in Cochise County. He serves at the Commander, Cochise County Sheriff’s Assist Team (SAT), which provides 12,000 volunteer hours annually in support of the Sheriff’s Office. He is also active in Rotary International and serves on the Board of Directors, American Southwest Credit Union.
Jeanne Joachim Blaes: Born I Miami, Florida in 1956, Jeanne Joachim Blaes, Ph.D., served in the US Army/Arizona Army National Guard, retiring in 2007 as Colonel/Chief of Staff, Arizona Army National Guard. A Life Member of the Military Officers Association of America, Military Order of the World Wars, National Guard Association, and Association of the US Army (AUSA). Jeanne has been serving as President of the Arizona Territorial Chapter, AUSA, for the past three years. She is extensively involved in many events which support the military, veterans, and cadets/students, including pre-/post-deployment Yellow Ribbon ceremonies, the Maricopa County and Coconino County StandDowns, and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps/Junior ROTC developmental training. Dr. Blaes serves on the AUSA Reserve Component Advisory Board, and Upper Iowa University Mesa Campus Advisory Committee. She actively supports the Arizona Youth Leadership Conference and Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Robert C. Filbey – Yuma Chapter MOAA: Born in Champaign, Illinois in 1948, Rob Filbey served his country at home and abroad for 30 years, retiring as Colonel, US Army. His last assignment was Commander, US Army Yuma Proving Ground. Retiring in Yuma, Rob took on may leadership roles: President of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and avid supporter of its Boys and Girls Club, President of Hospice of Yuma’s Board and Vice Chairman of Yuma Regional Medical Center Foundation Board. As Treasurer of Yuma Chapter, Military Officers Association of America, for 15 years, Rob was active in the establishment of a USMC JROTC program at Kofa High School, Yuma; the establishment of the “Young American Award” Scholarship Program (over $11,000 in scholarships to 7th graders); and the annual delivery of Christmas baskets to 65 military families at MCAS Yuma and Yuma Proving Ground.
Martin Stewart Fraiser – Northern Arizona Chapter MOAA: Born in Lake Wales, Florida in 1932, Stewart Fraiser served as an enlisted Marine, Warrant Officer, and Commissioned Officer, retiring in 1976 as a Major with over 25 years of service. Stewart, a Life Member of the VFW, DAV, Marine Corps Association, and Military Officers Association of America, is a financial support and fundraiser, as well as Past President and Director, Northern Arizona Chapter, MOAA. Stewart has taken up other, larger leadership challenges: as a Life Member and Past Commandant of Detachment #906, Marine Corps League, he is a Founding Director of the Arizona Military Order of Devil Dogs Charities which raised $117,000 to complete the Veterans’ Sports Court Facility at the VA Medical Center in Prescott. Stewart Fraiser was instrumental in raising $42,500 for the construction of Arizona Fisher House at the VA Medical Center, Tucson.
Richard E. Jonas – Northern Arizona Chapter MOAA: Born in Hildreth, Florida in 1939, Lieutenant Colonel Dick Jonas served in the US Air Force as a combat fighter pilot/instructor who retired in 1986 with 21 years of service. For 15 years Dick served as an aerospace science instructor at Cactus High School, Glendale; and Mohave High School, Bullhead City; during which time he volunteered the equivalent of a school year guiding the cadets to drill meets, field trips, and summer camps. An active lifetime member of the Military Officer Association of America and the Air Force Association, Dick advocated veterans issues to Arizona’s Congressional delegation, increased scholarship donations, and actively supported several veterans StandDowns. A military folk musician, Dick Jonas has traveled to Germany, Japan, and Korea to entertain the troops and to perpetuate the legacy of the warrior musician.
Joan McDermott: Born in Berlin, Wisconsin in 1943, Joan McDermott served as a US Army surgical nurse with two tours in Vietnam, attaining the rank of Captain. Following active duty, due to her husband’s military assignments, Joan lived in many foreign countries, volunteering at local Charities and orphanages. In 2006 Joan relocated to Lake Havasu City, retired from nursing, and continues to serve on a variety of organizations including as a Medicare counselor and the 9/11 Committee. She is a volunteer at the Mohave County StandDowns. Joan has a distinguished record of service to the community as an active member of American Legion Post 81 and VFW Post 9401 including Past Commander and many other VFW leadership positions. Joan McDermott currently serves as the Mentor Coordinator, Lake Havasu City Veterans Treatment Court.
Robert E. “Rob” Welch – Arizona Chapter MOAA: Born in Konawa, Oklahoma in 1941, Rob served as an Army military police officer (1959-1962) and deployed to France during the Berlin Crisis. After active duty, he served in both the Army Reserve and the Connecticut National Guard, retiring as Colonel with 33 ½ years military service. Rob served 30 years with the Connecticut State Police, retiring as a Captain. Moving to Arizona in 2005, he served as the Arizona Chapter President and as the Scholarship Chair of the Military Officers Association of America in addition to serving in leadership positions in twelve veteran and civic organizations including two years as the Chair, Unified Arizona Veterans. Rob annually donates over 2,000 volunteer hours in support of charitable organizations, raised tens of thousand of dollars for scholarships, and is an American Red Cross 13 ½ Gallon Blood Donor.