An Ahwatukee veteran who has seen combat and other action around the globe got a special Veterans Day salute last week.
Annemarie Patterson was told by Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning that she was the winner of a new air-conditioning system after polling the most online votes on the company’s website among five finalists in its fifth annual Military Hero A/C Giveaway.
“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “Such a blessing.”
A mother of two who is a veteran of the U.S. Army and National Guard, Patterson had been selected as a finalist by Forrest Anderson as part of a contest it runs every November that “honors the sacrifices of veterans, active duty service members, and their families.”
“I am blessed and grateful to be the recipient of 2020’s Forrest Anderson’s Military Hero Giveaway because it eases the financial burden of replacing my 20-year old air conditioner,” said Patterson, who got an unintended bonus when several former fellow soldiers saw her on Forrest Anderson’s contest site.
“More importantly, this contest gave me my tribe back,” she said.
“As a combat veteran who struggles with mental health challenges and self-isolation tendencies, I was able to reconnect with many wonderful, supportive, and loving people whom I lost touch with over the years.
“For fellow Veterans struggling with mental health: Remember Your Tribe! They want to support you as much as you need their support, which is something I learned from being a finalist in this contest.”
“The Forrest Anderson team is proud to honor Annie and all our Veterans for the sacrifices they and their families made to serve our country,” said Audrey Monell, President of Forrest Anderson. “We share their stories every year because we want to start conversations about the importance of supporting military members, many who return home with conditions that impact their physical and mental health.”
Patterson served 15 years in the military working as a combat medic, orthopedic specialist, and hospital administrator.
She served in Germany, and Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Storm.
As a medic in the Washington Army National Guard, she provided forest fire medical support.
She also served in the Florida Army National Guard, assisting in hurricane relief, and in the Arizona Army National Guard, providing training and operations as a hospital administrator.
Today, Patterson is raising her two teenage boys and mentoring veterans with PTSD to help them heal.
Forrest Anderson shared Patterson’s and the four other finalists’ stories on social media and gave the public two weeks to vote for their favorite.
The runners-up include Ron Breland, a U.S. Army Veteran from Glendale; Michael Butcher, a U.S. Army Veteran from Tolleson; Jed Davis, a U.S. Marine Veteran from Phoenix; and Lucy Wong, a U.S. Navy Veteran from Gilbert. They will each will receive a free A/C Tune Up for one unit valued at $84.95.
Monell also recognized industry partners, MORSCO HVAC/Bush Supply and Smiley Crane Service, whose contributions again made it possible to run the contest.
Since 2016, Forrest Anderson has worked with local partners to sponsor the Military Hero A/C Giveaway every year around Veterans Day.