SRPMIC Hosts East Valley Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast

From L to R: Mayor Julia Wheatley of the town of Queek Creek, Mayor John Giles of Mesa, Mayor David Ortega of Scottsdale, SRPMIC President Martin Harvier, Mayor Chip Wilson of Apache Junction, Mayor John Crane of Carefree, Mayor Brigette Peterson of Gilbert, and Mayor Robert Morris of Cave Creek.

On April 16, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community hosted the 2024 East Valley Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast at the Talking Stick Golf Club.

The East Valley Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast is an annual gathering of community leaders, business executives, public service groups and faith groups in the East Valley. At the event, leaders network and collaborate in an inspirational setting with the goal of creating a more positive, closer-knit community.

In attendance at this year’s breakfast were SRPMIC President Martin Harvier, Mayor John Giles of Mesa, Mayor Corey Woods of Tempe, Mayor David Ortega of Scottsdale, Mayor Julia Wheatley of the Town of Queen Creek, Mayor Chip Wilson of Apache Junction, Mayor Ginny Dickey of Fountain Hills, Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner of the Town of Paradise Valley, Mayor Brigette Peterson of Gilbert, Mayor Robert Morris of Cave Creek and Mayor John Crane of Carefree.

This year’s beneficiaries of the EVMPB were Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) and the Civitan Foundation. Both organizations work to enrich the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities by providing programs which positively impact and improve critical life, social and functional skills.

Hosted by SRPMIC Public Information Officer Blessing McAnlis-Vasquez, the event started at 6:30 a.m. as former SRPMIC President Delbert Ray Sr. performed the blessing of the food. As guests walked in the front entrance to the Talking Stick Golf Club, they were greeted by Miss Salt River Jizelle Juan and Jr. Miss Salt River 1st Attendant Patricia Woody, who adorned the guests with shell necklaces.

As guests began to mingle with one another, Connie Robles, Josie Enos and Monica Vavages made fresh homemade cemait/modiily (tortillas) at the tortilla demonstration booth located near the front entrance. The line to receive fresh tortillas for breakfast grew from a few people to a massive crowd in just a few minutes.

Following the presentation of the colors by the Salt River police and fire departments, former Miss Salt River Isabella Dockerty performed the national anthem in O’odham and received a rousing round of applause. Also, the SRPMIC Traditional Dancers performed on the grassy lawn on the west side of the golf club’s patio.

“I want to thank everyone in attendance here this morning,” said President Harvier. During his opening remarks, he stated that the SRPMIC was thankful to be able to host the prayer breakfast this year after losing their last opportunity; the Community was scheduled to host the 2020 event, but it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former SRPMIC Council Member Tom Largo Sr. provided the morning prayer. “With all of the things that are happening today in the world, we all should be in prayer,” said Largo.

Additionally, Pastor Len Andrews provided an inspiring message of hope, unity and togetherness. “This morning as we’re gathered together, it’s so wonderful to see these two organizations (the Civitan Foundation and STARS) spreading the love of God,” he said.

Andrews continued, speaking more about the importance of helping those less fortunate. “It is more blessed to give than to receive—no truer words are spoken. How often have you helped someone in need? And you felt so good afterwards, because that person was blessed and touched by your generosity, your time and by you acknowledging them,” he said.

As the event came to a close, McAnlis-Vasquez thanked all of the mayors, business executives and officials in attendance and announced the host of next year’s prayer breakfast, Mayor Corey Woods and the City of Tempe.

The breakfast came to an official close as the Bird Singing and Dancing by the River group performed a traditional song.

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