Contributed Photo: Gila Valley Leadership Cohort 17 members move boxes of blankets for the homeless to the Chamber.
Contributed Article/Courtesy Graham County Chamber of Commerce
SAFFORD – The Graham County Chamber of Commerce is sharing the educational journey of Gila Valley Leadership Cohort 17, with their final May session focusing on providing for the homeless as well as community safety and rescue.
The Gila Valley Leadership program, facilitated by the Graham County Chamber of Commerce and supported by the City of Safford, Town of Thatcher, Town of Pima, Graham County, and Eastern Arizona College, is a 10-month program aimed at fostering leadership and professional development skills. Participants of the program are provided with a unique opportunity to cultivate relationships with community members and leaders while honing their teamwork, organizational and collaborative skills. Additionally, they are given the chance to tour a variety of institutions that contribute to the vitality of the Gila Valley community.
On Thursday, May 4, Cohort 17 visited with Sean Wenham from Freeport McMoRan, learning about the economic impact of copper mining on the region. Later that day Linda Lopez, President of St. Vincent de PaulSam Daley, gave a presentation to the group on the needs of the local homeless community. The group also moved boxes of blankets for the homeless to the Chamber and participated in the First United Methodist Church of Safford Fundraiser for lunch.
The rest of the day was dedicated to the local law enforcement element, with a presentation and demonstration by a local K9 Officer from the Town of Thatcher. One officer dressed in full K9 training padded regalia while the dog was given its commands to detain and then release.
Graham County Sheriff P.J. Allred gave a lecture to the cohort, discussing his career, the Graham County Jail, and the types of cases the county sees.
Brittany Dean, assistant director of the Graham County Chamber of Commerce, said it was exciting to see the Cohort experiencing Gila Valley Leadership.
“Each member of Cohort 17 is so intelligent and they are so pivotal in their roles, it was great having them this year in Gila Valley Leadership,” Dean said. “As much as they said they learned from Leadership this year, they helped us learn ways to make it even better for future Gila Valley Leadership cohorts. It was a great class and it was great having them with us.”