Welcome back!

I hope you noticed I did not make an entry for November. It was a busy month finishing a years worth of work. I am proud of all the association members. Each of you in your own way was an important part of the massive success of the 2017 parade. Immediately following the parade I received positive comments from the sponsor judges indicating they will return next year. Tom, Lisa and Theresa said the same about sponsors.

2016 was a massive change in the operation of the parade organization with a multitude of “Firsts”.

We hired a professional PR company.

We revamped the website.

We joined the Mesa Chamber.

We created the  “MY VETERAN HERO” program.

We started the move to a professional virtual phone system.

Were these actions successful? The PR Team working with Theresa generated far more income than ever before. We have more recognition and more residual funds in the bank today. We did not have to be creative in fund raising. I believe these are positives.

The web site is professional, functional, beautiful, effective and operational.

The Mesa Chamber is a valued source of information, recognition, influence, and advertisement. At least 3 entries and one sponsor were a result of our Mesa Chamber Membership. The membership is annual and we still have months to go. Every member can go to any event within the chamber. there are many “Free” business grand openings that as individuals we can get great discounts and further add to our presence. I do ask that if you go to an event please wear your EVVP shirt so our presence is known.

“MY VETERAN HERO” program has 4 paid members. That is $400.00 that we have that deferred expenses. There are ideas in the works to improve this program, which, in part will be launched before our first event in March.

Last listed of our firsts is the phone system. It was tested from July until just before the parade between Theresa and myself. Several of the positive results of that test are better communication, better records, and easy identification of the caller. By directing informational calls to the phone we answered over 40 calls in October and over 80 calls in November using the answer message recorded by Kevin Christopher. That is 120 calls our Parade committee did not have to respond to and the requestor received the latest most correct information without delay.

This system is designed so we can communicate with anyone concerning the parade without revealing personal phone numbers. We will now be identified as East Valley Veterans Parade Association to all callers as a business showing each department such as parade operations, financial, volunteers etc. This means that people can call the volunteer coordinator instead of the parade chair, saving time and effort for everyone.

We had some growing pains with the diversification of tasks. Our application process needs work. We need to identify our theme and our marshals earlier. We are developing a time line starting this Month (December) and continuing through the end of the parade awards event. I am going to ask each of you to help identify these areas as how we can better achieve our goal of producing the best Veterans parade in Arizona.

Our next meeting the 2nd Monday in January 2017 and I look forward to everyone being there. 1st nominations for officers will be presented by our elections committee. If you want to be an officer and help move this association forward please indicate to Sylvia your intentions and you will be listed as a candidate in January. I sincerely appreciate each of you in helping make my first year as President a fulfilling one.

As I watched the parade I was proud of everyone involved because I know your efforts, ideas, and dedication made the 2016 East Valley Veterans Paraded a class event. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!

I’ll see you Monday January 10th but in the mean time have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.