Introducing founders of SOT-AZ Jim and Clare Law

Ceil Levatino

Last month’s issue of the Robson Ranch Views was the first in a series that will introduce you to the founders of Support Our Troops-Arizona (SOT-AZ) and featured George and Marybeth Fisher. This month, we would like to introduce you to another couple that were there at the beginning and were instrumental in helping expand the organization beyond sending Christmas stockings to our active military serving overseas.

Jim and Clare Law are both retired Navy service people. They served in San Diego, Virginia, Scotland, and England (where Jim flew with the British Navy in their E-20’s jets while Clare continued her teaching career). Upon retirement, they returned to San Diego and settled into civilian life with Jim working as a civilian military contractor. It was during the first invasion of Iraq that Jim realized there were young men and women coming back with a need that needed to be met. They began assembling “survival pouches” that they would fill with personal items, toiletries, and other things to meet basic needs.

Eventually they moved to Robson Ranch, where they learned about SOT-AZ and got involved. They deeply believed in what the Fishers and other volunteers were doing with the Christmas stockings but also felt that the organization could be doing much more. With that in mind (and to secure the necessary funds to expand the outreach) the first backyard fundraiser was born.

As more residents became members, then volunteers, it became obvious that SOT-AZ needed to do more if it were to grow and help more veterans. Jim and Clare along with the board decided it was time to take the next step—and using Robson Ranch Texas as its model—applied for 501(c)(3) status in Arizona. It was also during this time that the group decided that they had outgrown the backyard events and decided to move to a larger venue. Members, including the late Steve Anderson, wanted to introduce a live auction into the program. If you’ve ever attended the event, you know what a great evening it has grown to be.

Now, along with making sure our active military are remembered, SOT-AZ meets the emergency needs of qualified veterans, active military, and their families as well as our homeless desert-dwelling veterans. SOT-AZ supports the Fisher House at the Tucson Veterans Administration hospital and provides annual grants/scholarships to veterans who are enrolled in college who are in good standing academically.

How can you help our veterans?

If you are a creative person,consider contributing something unique that you’ve made in glass, gourd, pottery, cloth, woodworking, or jewelry. Or, if you’re a winter resident, consider donating items that are specific to your state or country. Perhaps you would like to donate a vacation condo or airline tickets. A “staycation” at one of our resorts in Phoenix or Scottsdale for a night would be wonderful, and remember that you can get together with friends and all share the cost of the item you wish to contribute.

If you’d like to contribute but can’t think of anything, give us a call, and we will be happy to make suggestions that are both popular and won’t break the bank. Contact Tom Walton at [email protected], 970-581-6863 or Ceil Levatino at [email protected], 575-644-6763.