The Veterans Medical Leadership Council (VMLC) was established by the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center (now the Phoenix VA Health Care System) in April 1999. The concept was based on a VA Public Affairs initiative by Paula Pedene, and endorsed by the Medical Center Director John Fears, to create a group of community leaders to assist the VA in its mission to provide veterans with the highest quality of health care. The inaugural President was Gregg Ostro, Go Media Co. LLC.
The VMLC's logo is a torch with five stars hovering above it. The torch signifies the quest for eternal freedom and honors those who have fought for that freedom. The five stars represent each branch of the armed forces of the Department of Defense (Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard) who are now our veterans. Members of the VMLC are business leaders who are also military veterans.
The VMLC incorporated in 2002, and the Internal Revenue Service granted the 501c(19) designation in May of 2003. In 2008, the VMLC added the 501(c) (3) exemption through the addition of VMLC Charities, Inc.
The mission of the VMLC is to provide a forum for community leaders to advocate initiatives that enhance the quality of veteran's health care and services in Maricopa County, and to raise funds to primarily assist Arizona Veterans in crises at the Phoenix VA Health Care System and the Arizona State Veteran Home that fall outside federal and state funding guidelines.
Remembering Brigadier General Tom Browning
Brigadier General Tom Browning was a true war hero, leader and friend. He was a member of the VMLC for over 10 years and instrumental in its Returning Warrior program to assist Veterans in need. He had a heart for the troops. His distinguished military career and involvement in the community have directly improved our lives. We are grateful for his service and lasting friendship. The passing of this very special man, who touched the lives of so many, represented a loss to our community. In Tom's honor, each year at the Heroes Patriotic Luncheon, a community champion will be presented with the BG Tom Browning Community Heroes Award to serve as a reminder for all he did for veterans in Arizona.