In the past few months, I have been honored to get to know many of you in the Veteran Art Program. Your art and how you live your lives continue to amaze and inspire me. You know me as Laura – a young(ish) Army veteran, CVA employee, and mother of three kids. Allow me to better introduce myself to you:
My name is Laura Hechel. I was born and raised in the frozen tundra of northern Minnesota, which is probably why I have moved to progressively warmer climates during my lifetime, finally settling on what is basically the surface of the sun in Phoenix, Arizona. I joined the Army right after high school to become a Signals Intelligence Analyst and Russian linguist. I met my husband (also an Army veteran) during training in Monterey, California. We dated in Texas, got engaged in Arizona, and were married in Vejle, Denmark, during my first permanent assignment with the “Big Red One” in Wurzburg, Germany. After my two years in Germany, I moved to Augusta, Georgia, to finish out my five year service contract. I got out of the Army in July of 2001, just months before the attacks that would radically change our nation and involve us in a conflict that continues to this day – nearly two decades later.
After the military, I earned my Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a Masters in Business Administration…and left corporate America to homeschool my children. I have three children: Jonathan, who is entering his senior year of high school; Jadelyn, who is entering tenth grade; and Zachary, who will be in sixth grade. All of my children currently attend ASU Prep Digital, an online charter school created by, and directly connected to, Arizona State University.
I only recently returned to the workforce. I was very selective during my job search because I wanted to take a position where I could make a tangible difference in the world. When the Grassroots Engagement Director position at Concerned Veterans for America became a possibility, I was ecstatic. There are many non-profit veteran organizations in our nation that do incredible things to provide individual assistance to veterans in need. These organizations are valuable and necessary. But Concerned Veterans for America stood out among the others because CVA works tirelessly to effect change in public policy that helps veterans and military service members around the world.
As a veteran who has not always had positive experiences at VA Medical Centers, I am most passionate about our organization’s desire to improve veteran healthcare, so that our nation’s veterans consistently receive quality medical care in a timely manner. Concerned Veterans for America also works to end the endless wars that needlessly place our service members in harm’s way. But we can’t accomplish these objectives alone! We train and provide opportunities for veterans, family members, and civilians who support the military and our nation’s veterans, to speak up and affect real political change in our world. We have so many ways that anyone can be involved in our grassroots efforts – from at home volunteer opportunities to helping with events that raise awareness to speaking directly to politicians through digital letters and in person. Perhaps that is why I love working for CVA and why I enjoy the people in the Veteran Art Program with the Mesa Art League so much: In both groups, everyone is valued for their unique contributions. And those contributions, whether in art or politics, make the world an infinitely better place for others.
Concerned Veterans for America is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to preserve the freedom and prosperity our veterans, military service members, and their families fought and sacrificed to defend. CVA is currently working to end endless wars, improve the VA healthcare system, and to ensure financially responsible choices by our federal government that will not put the future of our country and its citizens in jeopardy. You can learn more about CVA and become involved by visiting our website: cv4a.org.
Contact information is below...
Laura S. Hechel
US Army Veteran
Grassroots Engagement Director
Concerned Veterans for America
Connecting Arizona service members, veterans, families & helpers to information, support and resources.
Help and support by phone for everyone
The BeConnected support line is available to everyone.
Whether you need help and support for yourself or your family, or whether you are helping someone else, this service is available to you statewide.
OneOhOne Gallery is located in the heart of historic downtown Mesa at 101 W. Main.
Offering working studios for artists and 3 large gallery spaces,
our goal is to promote art and local artists for our community.
Also available is a large seminar room available for rent by the day.
We have been privileged to host art classes,
yoga lessons, aromatherapy workshops,
receptions, parties, dance classes,
film competitions, fashion shows, and much more.
Each month, we feature a new show by a variety of artists from many backgrounds
and medias: paintings, crafts, sculpture, jewelry,
ceramics, and photography can all be enjoyed.
Plan to stop by during the 2nd Friday Night Out event from 6-10 and meet and
greet the artists or call for open hours.
We are always accepting applications from artists wishing to apply for a show.
Stop by to network with our artists and enjoy something new every month.
For more information, contact Suzanne Woodford at 602-318-5689.
A Special Thank You goes out to Waylon and Leah Wuertz, for supporting the
MAL Veterans Art Program.
They graciously discounted a substantial
supply of gourds making it possible for us to continue with our program.
Wuertz Gourd Farm is the #1 Spot for 1000’s of Gourds; Over 30 different varieties,
all grown in Arizona.
Gourd Products and Tools are Now
Available on Site,
as well as Gourd Classes:
Southwest Designs, and more!
Open Year Round:
Tuesday – Saturday 8am – 5pm
We support artists at all stages of
their artistic journey.
As a leading art supply company, we provide
artists, educators, students, and our associates
with the tools, assistance, and training
needed to grow, innovate, and reach their creative potential.
BLICK Art Materials is family-owned and
serving artists since 1911.
With excellent service for a quality shopping experience, we want to ensure you find
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Our goal is to make your shopping experience
easy and enjoyable, so you can find
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With one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry, we hold true to
continuously providing the most
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Our commitment to excellence is supported by a team that's friendly, welcoming, and
knowledgeable in all areas of art supplies.
We proudly work with local artists and arts organizations across the country,
and support a variety of national events as well as local community events.
Get your BLICK discount key ring card!
Ste 1-3, 4421 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, AZ 85282
(Intersection of HWY 60)