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Lathrop gears up for its 3rd Memorial Day
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LATHROP - The third annual Memorial Day ceremonies to be held in Lathrop’s Veterans Memorial Wall at Valverde Park will be held on Monday, May 30, starting at 11 a.m.

The featured keynote speaker will be 1stSgt Lociendo Ferrer, inspector instructor of Bravo Company 4th Landing Support Battalion at the former Sharpe Army Depot in Lathrop, according to Arnita Yepez Montiel who is sharing chairman duties with Omar Khweiss of Lathrop.

“He used to be stationed at Sharpe Army Depot and now works at Simplot,” Montiel said of Khweiss.

The program, which is open to the public, will begin with the posting of colors by members of the Lathrop High School JROTC followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Christina Candelaria. The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Eagle Scout Christopher Gardner of Troop #22.

Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Wallace and the mayor will lay the memorial wreath in front of the wall.

The highlight of the program will be the solemn Tolling of the Bells, when the names of all Lathrop residents who gave their life in the service of their country - from World War I to the war in Iraq - and whose names are etched on the Memorial Wall will each be called followed by the tolling of the bell. Gaye Valadez, Montiel’s daughter, and Brent Maynor, will be doing the Tolling of the Bells this year. After each name is called, a short pause follows. Then a voice pronounces, “No answer,” and the bell is rung. This has been the highlight of each Memorial Day event held each year.

The roughly hourlong program will conclude with Benediction to be led by Pastor Eric Baca of the Lathrop Christian Center.

After the program, everyone will be invited to gather in the patio of the Lathrop Senior Center for refreshments furnished by the Lathrop Lions Club.

Montiel and Khweiss were appointed as cochairpersons of this year’s Memorial Day events by Mayor Joseph “Chaka” Santos.

Montiel has been chairing the event since its inception three years ago, but this is the first time Khweiss is being appointed to the Memorial Day committee.

“I like him very well; he’s very nice. He’s involved in a lot of things in the community such as the Lathrop Chamber of Commerce and the Lathrop Relay for Life of the American Cancer Society,” said Montiel about Khweiss.

Montiel said he is involved in the Lathrop Chamber of Commerce and Lathrop Relay for Life of the American Rounding out the members of the committee appointed by the mayor are Valadez, Maynor, Kenneth Mullins,  and Aaron Bazan.

For any questions about the Memorial Day ceremonies, call Montiel at (209) 858-2877.