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SBMLT in the News

Press Coverage

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Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2016 4:00 am

The annual Veterans Day ceremony was made extra special this year with the dedication of the veterans monument designed and created by Boy Scout Liam Gavigan as his Eagle Scout project.

“I dedicate this monument to all veterans, past, present and future,” Gavigan said.

After the color guard posted the colors—with representatives of each branch of the service raising their own flags—Gavigan led the crowd of about 500 people in the Pledge of Allegiance. After the singing of the national anthem by Shannon Henyan, Gavigan was congratulated by local public officials including Wasey Noori, representing Congressman Paul Cook; Sen. Mike Morrell; Assemblyman Jay Obernolte; and Supervisor Janice Rutherford.

Noori presented Gavigan with a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol.

“As long as we turn out young people like this,” Sen. Morrell said, “there’s hope for the U.S.” Assemblyman Obernolte added that it’s “amazing to me to think of the hundreds and thousands of people you will touch with this monument.” And Supervisor Rutherford noted that she “can’t fathom we put so many young people through the hell of war. We can’t repay you but we can thank you.”

Rutherford went on to say the county has housed more than 600 homeless veterans. “I don’t believe there should be a single homeless veteran,” she said.

Capt. Benjamin Cloud, U.S. Navy, Ret., who acted as emcee for the event, commented that “veterans are the fiber of our community.”

As the event moved on into the traditional Veterans Day ceremony, Capt. Cloud introduced Armand LeSage, a U.S. Army Vietnam War veteran, who spoke on “Reflections of a Veteran.” His list of observations concluded with “now we have a place to come and reflect.”

VFW Post 9624 called forward and congratulated the winners of its Voice of Democracy and Patriots Pen essay contests. Mollie Kortsen, who took first place in the high school contest, read her essay. She recalled volunteering at Operation Provider last Thanksgiving and helping a veteran to his car.

“It astonished me that this man who fought for our freedom thanked me for carrying a box of food to his car,” she read.

Destiny Hochhalter won second place and McKenzie Eshleman, third. The winners of the Patriots Pen contest were Summerlee Malone, first; Chloe Judd, second; and Caitlyn Nicholson, third.

Ginger Gabriel, representing Quilts of Valor, presented quilts to two veterans: Christopher Pate, who served six years in the Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq; and Eric Crisanti, who served in the Army from 2003 to 2013.

“These quilts are big hugs from us,” Gabriel told the men.

And then, as Joyce Rapp played the tunes on a keyboard, the veterans who had served in the various branches stood and sang their songs.

Steve Ferrera, a USMC veteran, closed the ceremony with the playing of taps.

The veterans monument is located at Arrowhead Ridge on Grass Valley Road, across from the golf course at the Lake Arrowhead Country Club.