Maricopa County StandDown collage.

Team TriWest Gives Back in Support of Veterans at StandDown

“We can’t fix all things for our Veterans, but just being there and doing what we can to bring a smile is so worth it.” – Gregory Kay, Claims Escalation Representative, TriWest

For two TriWest Healthcare Alliance (TriWest) employees who earlier served in the U.S. Army, volunteering at the 2024 Maricopa County StandDown was especially meaningful.

TriWest employees and Veterans Larry Bookhamer, Market Research & Planning Manager, and Gregory Kay, Claims Escalation Representative, were able to serve those who served during the StandDown, connecting with their military brethren – and directing Veterans to vital services, resources and support.Gregory Kay pictured with his wife and other volunteers at the Maricopa County StandDown event.

Larry and Gregory were among 16 TriWest employees who volunteered at the StandDown event held at the Arizona State Fairgrounds March 21-22, 2024.

Larry shared, “I interacted with Veterans, answered their questions, pointed them to the best service providers to help them, and often just discussed their military background and suggested services that I felt they would have interest in.”

“Sometimes being a Veteran, you only wish to speak with a fellow Veteran,” Gregory explained. “I can be that ear for Veterans.”

The Maricopa County StandDown, the nation’s largest annual event of its kind, supports homeless and low-income Veterans and connects them with resources including housing coordinators, health providers, legal assistance, hair and grooming professionals, and even veterinary care for pets.TriWest volunteers’ collage at the Maricopa County StandDown event.

Gregory, Larry and Team TriWest held roles ranging from guest guides for Veteran participants moving through provider stations, to serving meals and dispersing clothing and grooming essentials donated by community groups and businesses.

The event in Phoenix, which is home to TriWest, was hosted by the Arizona Housing Coalition with support from the Human Services Campus, Valley of the Sun United Way, Arizona Department of Veterans Services, and other community organizations and sponsors including TriWest.

Giving Back to the Veteran Community

Glenn Gray, TriWest Vice President, Military & Veteran Engagement, described the StandDown as an event where Veterans experiencing housing instability and homelessness receive vital services at a single location.Glenn Gray, TriWest VP of Military & Veteran Engagement, is pictured with volunteers.

“TriWest has a long history of giving back to Veterans for their service to the nation, including partnering with many community groups serving Veterans,” Glenn explained.

To prepare for the StandDown, TriWest employees also volunteered the day before the event, setting up tables and chairs, pop-up tents, provider areas and signage. Some began their volunteer shifts as early as 5:45 a.m. and others ended their days at 4:30 p.m.

The StandDown is so named after the military “Stand Down” or brief period of time in which service members are ordered to take a break to rest and assess before returning to normal operations. Other StandDown events are held in communities throughout the U.S. during the year.

Honoring Their Military Brethren

Gregory had traveled with his wife from Yuma, Ariz., to Phoenix, a nearly three-hour drive, so the couple could volunteer. It was their first time volunteering, and they staffed a station where Veterans received all types of clothing and essentials.

During a break, Gregory spoke with a Veteran who shared that he received legal counsel on site that would help him reestablish his security clearance which, in turn, would enable him to get a higher paying job. “The Veteran was excited that he got his legal issue taken care of. He is able to move forward,” Gregory said.

Larry, also a first-time volunteer, was impressed with how supportive and passionate the service staff were to each and every Veteran. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), he said, was instrumental in coordinating and providing services such as helping Veterans with housing, accessing health care services, updating records, and much more.

“What broke my heart was the number of Veterans who were homeless and seeking help,” Larry shared. “It may have been a small percentage of those attending the event but in my opinion no Veteran should be homeless.”

Both Gregory and Larry said the Veterans were grateful for the resources they could access – as well as the camaraderie.At the Maricopa County StandDown event, Gregory Kay, a volunteer from TriWest, is assisting a veteran.

“When you see that there are fellow Veterans hurting and needing so much more, doing events like these helps them in their own special way,” Gregory said. “I had the honor to help them in whatever manner possible. I was able to give back to my fellow Veterans.”

“Being a TriWest employee and giving back brings pride in the work we do here to help out the Veteran community,” he added. “We can’t fix all things for our Veterans, but just being there and doing what we can to bring a smile is so worth it.”

Larry shared, “Like most former military, I miss interacting with Veterans. This was an opportunity to talk ‘military’ and discuss the old days and experiences. It was my first time attending the StandDown and will not be my last.”

“After being with TriWest for 16 years,” Larry continued, “I have absolutely no doubt that our priority is to help Veterans and military members, and do ‘Whatever it Takes!®’ I believe in that promise and will always show up to help Veterans, military, and their family members.”

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