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Korean War veteran Les Thomas of Manteca is Veteran of the Year

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Korean War veteran Les Thomas of Manteca is Veteran of the Year

Les Thomas is the 26th Assembly District’s Veteran of the Year.

DENNIS WYATT/The Bulletin


POSTED July 4, 2012 2:16 a.m.

Assemblyman Bill Berryhill has honored Les Thomas as the 26th Assembly District’s Veteran of the Year.

A member of the Manteca Hall of Fame and recipient of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award, Thomas served in the United States Army as a mechanic from 1954 through 1957. During that time he served with the 24th Division in the Republic of Korea while stationed near the DMZ.

After his military service, Thomas worked in construction and became a member of the Carpenters Union. For the past ten years, Thomas has overseen the distribution and collection of 2,400 flags as part of “Flags Over Manteca”. If an occasion comes up where flags are needed, such as a Memorial Day weekend observation or a welcoming ceremony for a hero home from war, he answers the call. Thomas gives credit to all of the people who help with the flags, knowing that it couldn’t be done without the community’s participation.

His service to the Manteca community does not stop with his great patriotism. Thomas has also been active with many other community service organizations by volunteering to assist disabled and elderly persons through St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Manteca, and in the past as Grand Night of the Manteca Grand Knights of Columbus.

Thomas is also grand marshal of today’s Manteca Fourth of July parade.

“It is the people of this community that make me the person that I am. I think the world of Manteca and surrounding communities. Thank you to the community and to Assemblyman Berryhill for honoring me. I am overwhelmed by this recognition,” said Thomas.

Assemblyman Berryhill praised Thomas for his service and expressed his gratitude for his great patriotism,.

“Les Thomas’s service in the Korean War and his commitment to patriotism today is an honorable quality that all Californians can and should emulate in their own communities,” Berryhill said. “Les is truly an example of what it is to be a great American.”

Berryhill, R-Stockton, represents the 26th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Stockton, Manteca, Ripon, Escalon, Patterson, Turlock, Ceres, Lockeford, Modesto, Denair and Linden.  He has been a farmer in the Central Valley for over 30 years.

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