PHOENIX-After just two months into his chairmanship with the Navajo Code Talker Memorial Foundation, Peter MacDonald, former chairman of the Navajo Nation has succeeded in getting Las Vegas entertainer Wayne Newton to perform for what should end up as the fundraising event of the year for the foundation.
"To say that I'm excited is an understatement," said Sylvia Laughter. "We are so fortunate to have an entertainer of [Newton's] caliber perform for our event. And the decision to place MacDonald [as head] turned out to be the right choice as well."
Newton, appropriately named "Mr. Las Vegas" for his outstanding performances at the Flamingo Hotel, has had an extraordinary life in the entertainment business. Born to parents with partial Native American heritage, Newton contributed his time and talents to Native American causes over the years. He is also known for his patriotism and selfless service to the armed services.
According to his biography, "He is the most widely acclaimed and honored entertainer in history."
"With his Native background and his work with the Armed Services, I can't think of anyone more fitting to honor the Navajo Code Talkers than Wayne Newton," said Joe Hart, Vice Chairman of the Foundation.
"It is a real honor for the Navajo Code Talkers to have Wayne Newton, Mr. Las Vegas perform at our fundraiser" said MacDonald.
The Navajo Code Talker Memorial Foundation began as a result of legislation introduced by State Representative Sylvia Laughter in 2002. Governor Jane D. Hull delivered a proclamation to recognize the distinguished service of the Navajo Code Talkers during WWII. The Navajo Code Talkers also were presented with certificates of recognition for their service and a Resolution was read in their honor.
The following year, Laughter introduced another bill that would allow for the placement of a Monument at the state capitol grounds. Since that time, the foundation was formed for the express purpose of raising money to install the monument at the Wesley Bolin Plaza.
A recent bill introduced at the Arizona Legislature that would have given the foundation $100,000, was not included in the final budget as expected. Efforts by the foundation to gain the support of the governor and the majority leadership failed.
"I am disappointed that they would support an appropriation for the Pearl Harbor Memorial, yet they would not consider funding a memorial to honor the Navajo Code Talkers," said Laughter.
The appropriation, if passed, would have matched the monies from the Navajo Nation legislature.
The fundraising event, to be held in Phoenix, is scheduled on Aug. 14, which has been designated as"Navajo Code Talker Day." Details are presently being finalized and tickets should be made available shortly thereafter. The foundation has created a site on the popular MySpace Web site at http://www.myspace.com/123376482. Details regarding the purchase of Wayne Newton tickets will be made available on that site.