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Leading with empathy: Snidecore named Peoria Hometown Hero


Marine Tad Snidecor was working in the Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma on April 19, 1995 when ex-Army soldier and security guard Timothy McVeigh parked a rented Ryder truck in front it.

The carnage that followed became known as the Oklahoma City bombing and left 168 dead, including 19 children, and several hundred injured.

But the death toll might have been worse if Snidecor had not been serving at Recruiting Station Oklahoma City located on the sixth floor of the building at the time the 5,000-pound fertilizer bomb exploded.

Although injured himself, he quickly jumped into action as the building collapsed, helping with rescue, triage and combat first-aid.

Such valor has been a staple of his career as a Marine, but he has also found a way to provide service on the local level in Peoria and in the Valley.

Snidecor, 52, serves as the chair of Peoria’s Veterans Memorial Board, which advises the mayor and city council on matters concerning veterans’ affairs. The board also makes recommendations for the preservation and maintenance of the city’s war memorials, including the Peoria Veterans Memorial.

Snidecor volunteers for the Veterans Administration in Behavioral Health Operations at the West Valley Veterans Center, and also serves the state of Arizona as an active member of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s Veteran Advisory Council.

He is also the founder and CEO of Peoria-based Veteran Advisor Corps, a business consulting firm in which he uses his military and government experience, property management, managerial accounting, budgeting, government contracting, value chain analysis with process improvements, healthcare operations, negotiations, customer service, crisis and call center operations, government contracts, plus his education from the top-rated Thunderbird School of Global Management to apply wide-ranging principles to business operations in the private and public sector.

Former Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat said Snidecor is a servant leader who is spearheading a new memorial honoring veterans at Paloma Park and began a pinning ceremony for Vietnam veterans at Peoria’s annual Veterans Memorial Celebration.

With humility, Snidecor works to prioritize the greater good, and has created an important, focused agenda for the Peoria Veterans Board, she said.

“His vision, capabilities and willingness to work hard for veterans and for his community have been a godsend to the city of Peoria,” Carlat said. “And his active, intentional service has raised the bar for this board and proves how meaningful a volunteer organization can be.”

For his service to the community, Snidecor has been named a Peoria Independent Hometown Hero.

The Hometown Heroes Awards are a celebration of individuals who live or teach in the city, and Peoria businesses for their achievements and distinguished contributions to the community and beyond.

Snidecor will be honored at an awards luncheon next year. The third annual Hometown Heroes luncheon will honor those nominated in 2023.

In partnership with the city of Peoria, Snidecor was interviewed by city officials and aired on Channel 11.

Snidecor joined the Marine Corps in September 1988 and descends from a military family with a long tradition of service — a member of his family has served in every American conflict since the Revolutionary War.

He is a seasoned combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, retiring after 20 years as First Sergeant in 2008.

A significant experience for Snidecor came in 2005 that has been a sign post moving forward, when one of the Marines in his charge attempted suicide and nearly lost his life. Snidecor said the man survived, but the experience led him to reflect on his leadership style and lead with empathy.

“This had a lasting impact on me and was definitely a wake-up call,” he said. “I told myself, ‘From now on, I need to do a better job serving my Marines.’”

Following that path, Snidecor piloted and became the program manager and subject matter expert for the Marine Corps DSTRESS Line, TriCare and VA Choice programs in 2010.

The hotline was an anonymous Marine-to-Marine phone and chat support service that operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Marine and outreach coordinator Eddie Matteson, who worked with Snidecor on the project, said the global program saved numerous lives and addressed the everyday stress of being in the Marine Corps, including the affects on family members.

Matteson said Snidecor is well deserving of a Hometown Hero honor, and has been instrumental in talking down many Marines from suicide.

“Tad is very calm, doesn’t get excited and knows how to talk to people. He is able to speak everybody’s language,” Matteson said. “He approaches every situation with empathy, and you can’t teach that. Either you have empathy or you don’t.”

Philip Haldiman can be reached at phaldiman@iniusa.org, or on Twitter @philiphaldiman. We’d like to invite our readers to submit their civil comments, pro or con, on this issue. Email AZOpinions@iniusa.org.