Suns News

Suns to Become First NBA Team to Launch Program Honoring Children of Military Service Members

The program will launch this Friday when the Suns tip off against the Kings.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)
Posted: Nov. 11, 2010

In honor of Veteran’s Day, the Phoenix Suns in partnership with TriWest Healthcare Alliance and USAA will launch the NBA’s first “Me and a Friend” program, designed to recognize children whose parents are serving on active duty in the United States military. The initiative will tip-off Friday night when the team hosts the Sacramento Kings at US Airways Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Through the program, the Suns will work with United Service Organization (USO) of Arizona to invite a military child to each Suns home game who will receive complimentary tickets for themselves and a friend. Each child will also receive dinner courtesy of Levy Restaurants, a Suns t-shirt and a photo taken with their friend on the main court.

“The Suns are honored to be the first NBA team to start a ‘Me and a Friend’ program,” said Rick Welts, President and CEO of the Phoenix Suns. “This program is a perfect way for us to show our support of the courageous troops that serve our country and their loved ones. It is only fitting that we begin this effort over Veteran’s Day weekend.”

The “Me and a Friend” program was developed by the Department of Defense, Blue Star Families, the USO, and other military organizations to recognize the unique challenges and sacrifices made by the children of military service members, especially those who have a parent that is currently deployed.

“Military families – including the children of service members – sacrifice so much in the overall mission to protect America and our freedoms,” said David J. McIntyre Jr., President and CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance. “We are incredibly honored to partner with the Suns on the “Me and a Friend” program because it provides these kids with some fun and entertainment while their mom or dad is serving our country.”

The Suns and USO of Arizona will select the children from local military bases and organizations.

“The USO of Arizona is proud to partner with the Phoenix Suns in support of military kids through this program,” said Anne Theodosis, Center Director of USO Arizona.

Get to the game on Friday, November 12 when the Suns host the Sacramento Kings at US Airways Center. Fantastic seats are still available. Purchase your tickets at or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX.

About TriWest Healthcare Alliance: TriWest Healthcare Alliance partners with the Department of Defense to do “Whatever It Takes” to support the healthcare needs of 2.7 million members of America’s military family. A Phoenix-based corporation, TriWest provides access to cost-effective, high-quality healthcare in the 21-state TRICARE West Region. For more information, visit

About USAA:
USAA, which has approximately 3,000 employees at its campus in North Phoenix, provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 7.8 million members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. Military – and their families. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit

About USO:
USO (United Service Organizations) was chartered by Congress and signed in to law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941 and given the mission of lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families. For nearly 70 years the USO has carried out that mission millions of times each year and at thousands of places worldwide. USO provides a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. USO also provides critical support to those who need it most, including forward-deployed troops and their families, wounded warriors and their families, and the families of the fallen. The USO is a private, non-profit organization that relies on the generosity of its volunteers and donors. To join in this patriotic mission and to learn more about that USO, please visit