By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Manteca Senior Center salutes Americas veterans
pic veterans-1
Ken Wesela, left, shares a moment with fellow veteran Robert Serpa. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Walter Bush was pleased with the City of Manteca’s Veterans Appreciation event Monday at the Manteca Senior Center.

As a member of the Senior Advisory Committee, he spearheaded the ceremony honoring those who have dutifully served their country. Included were veterans of the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.

“This is the most we’ve had here compared to the last two years,” said Bush, who also provided the program’s closing remarks.

He estimated over 200 local veterans and their family in attendance. Of that, three were recognized as survivors of the historic 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Veterans Appreciation was made possible by the support of A Place Refuge, Prestige Senior Living, Merrill Gardens, The Commons at Union Ranch, Manteca Historical Society and American Legion.

Bush is a member of the American Legion and is a veteran of the Korean War.

Brandy Clark, who is the director of the Senior Center, served as emcee to the special event that kicked off with the East Union High JROTC providing the post colors for the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Veterans are ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things,” Clark said.

Taylor Carnes performed the National Anthem while Clark welcomed special guests that consisted of Mayor Willie Weatherford, Police Chief Dave Bricker, and Police Capt. Charlie Goeken.

Ken Wesela led in singing the U.S. Marine Corps Hymn while former Manteca Idol winner Christina Acosta performed God Bless America.

The Veterans Appreciation event also showcased a wartime display compliments of the Manteca Historical Society and the traveling tribute to those who have fallen serving America in the Global War on Terror.

“This traveling tribute was dedicated four years ago with six panels,” Pastor Mike Dillman of The Place of Refuge said. “Now, we’re looking at (growing to) 10 panels by Memorial Day.”

The added panels, he said, signifies more loss of lives in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Dillman, who served in Vietnam, noted that the 600 names that appear on each panel were furnished by the U.S. Department of Defense.

“In Vietnam, we were losing (an average of) 600 every week,” he said. “The cost for freedom is extravagant beyond anything we can comprehend.”

Dillman revealed that the new panel will feature Mark Forester, who was listed as an Air Force Special Operations Command Combat Controller. He died September 2010 in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, while trying to save his fallen colleagues.

Forester’s family from Georgia is expected to attend the Memorial Day dedication event, said Dillman.

He added the traveling tribute wall will have a permanent home at the new Veterans Hospital in French Camp that’s expected to be completed in 2013.

Those attending the Veterans Appreciation event were treated to boxed lunch meals along with cake. They also had a chance to win door prizes.