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Mayor Uecker feted by Ripon veterans

Recognition includes post work, military service

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Mayor Uecker feted by Ripon veterans

Ripon Mayor Dean Uecker with his family during last week’s event honoring him at Ripon VFW Post 1051.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED February 20, 2013 1:59 a.m.

The VFW Post 1051 Hall on West Ripon Road is always in a celebratory mood whenever members gather. But the party on the eve of Valentine’s Day was even merrier than most. The reason was obvious. Gatherings like it happen very rarely at the hall.

That’s because Post veterans, their families, friends and supporters were honoring one of their own – Dean Uecker – who was just appointed mayor of Ripon. The Ripon City Council member has served the Almond Capital of the World for several years as an elected official. Unlike other incorporated cities such as Manteca and Lathrop, Ripon council members rotate every year to serve as town mayor.

This year, Uecker was elevated to the post.

But that’s not the only reason Post 1051 made the mayor the toast of the night.

“Dean has been a member of this Post – he was in the Navy – and he has been a great contributor to this hall,” explained a smiling Post Commander Tracy Crawford. “We wanted to give him some recognition from the Post and wish him continued success as a businessman and as a civic leader.”

Besides being a councilman, Uecker works as an agent for Farmers Insurance in Ripon.

Every year, said Crawford, the mayor donates the corned beef for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration and fund-raising event held at the hall. Proceeds from this effort, like the hall’s other fund-raising projects, all go into Post 1051’s general fund “and to support our troops,” he said.

But Uecker does not just give in-kind help or monetary donations to the hall. Very often, he is also there shoulder-to-shoulder with his fellow veterans when they have to pack care boxes for American soldiers overseas.

One fellow veteran and Post member, a longtime Ripon farmer and former San Joaquin County Board of Supervisor who was inducted into the county Ag Hall of Fame in 2003, was optimistic about Uecker serving as mayor of Ripon.

“I think he’ll do great, you betcha!” said Adrian Fondse with a big smile.

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