Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado Joint Color Guard from Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., present service flags and the American flag during the 37th Annual Armed Forces Recognition Luncheon June 14, 2013, at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver. The luncheon, hosted by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and Defense Council, recognized several local service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Darryl Bolden Jr./Released)
Rick Crandall, 37th Annual Armed Forces Recognition Luncheon master of ceremonies, speaks to the audience on the achievements of award winners June 14, 2013, at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver. The Armed Forces Recognition Luncheon recognized 11 award winners from all branches and components of the military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Darryl Bolden Jr./Released)
Winners from the 37th Annual Armed Forces Recognition Luncheon gather for a group photo June 14, 2013, at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver. The Aurora Chamber of Commerce and Defense Council recognized 11 military members from all branches and components for their achievements on and off duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Darryl Bolden Jr./Released)
6/18/2013 - DENVER -- The Aurora Chamber of Commerce's Defense Council honored 11 military members and one civilian from the community during the organization's 37th Annual Armed Forces Recognition Luncheon June 14 at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver.
More than 600 business and community leaders attended the luncheon.
The keynote speaker was retired Gen. Craig R. McKinley, National President of the Air Force Association and former Chief of the National Guard Bureau.
"To all of you in uniform -- whether you are Army, Marine, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard -- thank you all for your service. I am proud of the dedication of the service members here today," said McKinley has he talked about sequestration, technology improvements, the volunteer force and wounded warriors.
"America is a resilient nation," stated McKinley. "We don't give up. The next generation is the greatest generation that we will recognize today."
The awardees in each service and component category included the following:
Active-duty Air Force
Tech. Sgt. Ranier Raqueno, Space Operations Wing, Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado
Air Force Reserve Tech. Sgt. Murjani Law, Air Reserve Personnel Center
Active-duty Army Sgt. Jordan Nwajei, 743rd Military Intelligence Battalion
Army Reserve Spc. Doug Schmidt, A Company, 98th Expeditionary Signal Battalion
Active-duty Navy Petty Officer Josue Orantes, Navy Operations Support Center
Navy Reserve Petty Officer 2nd Class Theresa Able, NOSC
Active-duty Marine Corps Sgt. Renata Rock, Company A, Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion
Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Jackson, Coast Guard Cryptologic Unit Colorado
Colorado Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Hans Blenkers, HHC, 147th Brigade Support Battalion
Colorado Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Shawn Thomason, 140th Maintenance Squadron
Also, Tom Allee with Frontier Airlines was presented the Bob Cardenas Award for his support of the military in the region.
"This luncheon is our way of recognizing the members of the Armed Forces -- Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard -- throughout Northern Colorado including the Denver-Aurora area," said Defense Council Chair Lisa Buckley, American Automation. "They make a great contribution to our community and to our nation."