Veterans honored at D-M fundraiser - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Veterans honored at DMAFB fundraiser

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TUCSON – Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is celebrating its 90th birthday.

Thursday evening the business group DM50 hosted a celebration at its annual fundraiser.

Dean Cotlow runs a commercial real estate business and works with DM50. He advocates for the installation, which brings $1.5 billion to Tucson’s economy annually.

“If the economy is not running, my business is not making money,” Cotlow said. “It's a real simple formula.”

The organization started with 50 businesses, but now it has about 100. DM50 supports airmen stationed in Tucson, and the group encourages elected officials to keep missions at D-M.

“We have to make sure we have representatives in all the politician's faces,” Cotlow said, “to make sure they know who we are, what we do and how important this base is to the city of Tucson.”

DM50 honored 4 World War II veterans at the event.

Raymond Blumenstetter joined the Army before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He spent the war as a mechanic.

“I think it's wonderful,” Blumenstetter said. “It's not that it's me. It's just that they are honoring who they are honoring. Remember, it's been 70 years, a long time. And it's very humbling.”

Edward Chan dropped bombs out of a B-24 in Europe. He survived 35 missions.

“I got scared many times,” Chan said, “especially on the 5 last missions. You gotta worry about the 5 last missions. After you got 30, then you worry about the 5.”

Arthur Schaefer was a child when Charles Lindberg flew to Tucson to dedicate Davis-Monthan. He later became a navigator on a B-17. He was unable to attend the event, but his story was still told to the crowd.

“My whole family is overwhelmed by this honor,” his son, Richard Shaefer said. “It is such an exciting thing for people to recognize this war hero, my dad.”

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