Veterans living in Anthem senior community honored with hero wall

Posted: Updated:
There's a wall at a retirement community in Anthem that honors veterans. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) There's a wall at a retirement community in Anthem that honors veterans. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Dozens of young people from Youth for Troops, a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting veterans and military members, showed up holding about 30 American flags. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Dozens of young people from Youth for Troops, a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting veterans and military members, showed up holding about 30 American flags. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Each veteran received a medal, thank you card and a handshake. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Each veteran received a medal, thank you card and a handshake. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
ANTHEM, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Valley senior living community unveiled a special hero wall to honor the 31 WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans who call it home.

Between the walkers, canes and wheelchairs, it can be hard to tell who's a veteran among The Enclave at Anthem's 80 residents.

To make it easier, the staff took headshots of each veteran to help anyone who visits identify who served in the U.S. military.

Tuesday, the staff also threw them a patriotic party to show their appreciation.

Each veteran received a medal, thank you card and a handshake.

Dozens of young people from Youth for Troops, a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting veterans and military members, showed up holding about 30 American flags.

Arizona Patriot Guard Riders and Daisy Mountain Veterans helped with the ceremony too.

Dr. John Budge, 78, was surprised.

"I think having the people from town and so forth with the flags made it very nice, very special," he said.

James Irby is the oldest of the senior living center's veterans bunch. He's 92 years old and served in WWII as a B-29 tail gunner. 

He teared up when everyone held hands and sang to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A."

"It gives me a great sense of pride. I just can’t believe how Anthem treats its veterans. They’re wonderful," said Irby. "It just makes me happy when I see so many people that are patriotic in today’s age when everything is divided."

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Maria HechanovaMaria’s last name is pronounced HETCH-UH-NO-VAH. She joined the 3TV/CBS 5 News team in July 2017, but is no stranger to Arizona.

Click to learn more about Maria.

Maria Hechanova

Prior to moving to Phoenix, she spent four years in Tucson reporting for KOLD News 13 and KMSB FOX 11 covering wildfires, VA transportation issues, and Southern Arizona's largest school district.

Before that, she worked for WLNS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Lansing, Michigan where she learned a lot about the auto industry and almost never took off her parka.

Maria also reported in Yuma where she had the incredible opportunity to fly with the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels and cover countless military homecomings.

She got her start at KPHO in 2008 as a college intern and is happy to be back and working with professionals who helped shape her career.

Shortly after college, Maria landed an internship with the TODAY Show in New York City thanks to the help of the Asian American Journalists Association.

She graduated from Northern Arizona University where she was also a member of the women's swimming and diving team.

Maria grew up in the Valley and went to Ironwood High School in Glendale.

When not reporting the news, she’s hunting for the best carne asada tacos or bowl of pho, swimming laps, or hanging out with her USMC veteran husband and rescued Shih Tzu.

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, you also can find Maria at @MariaHechanovaTV on Instagram.

Hide bio