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Wounded Warrior run part of Memorial Day events
Derek McGinnis will be a part of the Memorial Day weekend activities in Manteca. - photo by Photo Contributed


We, as a nation, owe a great debt to those men and women who have served America in the military during war and peace. The Manteca Bulletin would like to share the stories of these heroes - your sons, your daughters, your brothers, your sisters, your fathers, and your mothers - in a special section publishing on Memorial Day, May 31.

We’re inviting readers to submit stories about their heroes and include photos as well. You can e-mail them to  (be sure to put serving America in the e-mail name) or drop it by or mail it to The Manteca Bulletin, 531 E. Yosemite Ave., Manteca, CA, 95336. We need your submissions by May 24.

Iraq War veteran Derek McGinnis and the author of “Exit Wounds”: A Survival Guide to Pain Management” is among the entries already registered for the first Wounded Warrior Christopher  Braley 5k run/walk that is part of the Memorial Day Weekend activities on Sunday, May 30, at Woodward Park.

The entry free for the 8 a.m. race is $20 if you register by Friday, May 21. It jumps to $25 after that date. All pre-registered runners and walkers will receive a free T-shirt. All participants will receive a free omelet breakfast after the race. Details on registration are available by going to website and downloading the details.

McGinnis served as a hospital corpsman for 11 years in the Navy. In November of 2004 he was severely wounded in Fallujah sustaining a traumatic brain injury and an above knee amputation of his left leg for which he underwent extensive treatment and rehabilitation at military and Veterans Affairs medical facilities. He currently serves veterans as a readjustment counselor at the Modesto Vet Center. He also serves as an advocate for military and veteran initiatives through the American Pain Foundation.

McGinnis is also a competitive athlete participating in numerous triathlons and running races each year as a member of Team Semper Fi.
He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work at California State University, Stanislaus.

Braley, a Manteca native, was serving in Iraq in September of 2007 as a Navy medic.  He was traveling with Marines on a patrol when gunfire broke out and an explosive detonated, sending shrapnel into his right eye and his brain.  He spent several months at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and it was there that President George W. Bush visited with him and his mother, Debra Braley,  and presented the wounded warrior with a Purple Heart.  

Among the major events planned for the three-day weekend at Woodward Park are:

• The dedication of the ninth panel for the Traveling Tribute to those who have laid down their lives in the Global War on Terror will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 29. One thousand names have been added since the tribute was first dedicated two years ago. The inscription on the ninth panel – in addition to the 1,000 names – will detail the heroics of Michael Monsoor of Garden Grove in Southern California. The Navy Seal threw himself on a grenade in Afghanistan killing himself but saving the lives of six of his fellow soldiers. Sally Monsoor, the mother of the Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, will be on hand for the dedication.

The rest of the activities take place Sunday, May 30. Seating is on the grass for all events Sunday so those attending may want to bring chairs or blankets to lay on the grass.

• Breakfast will be served from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. with the $5 donation going to help cover the costs of the three-day event.

• An aerial fly-by that will include F16s that will pass over Woodward Park. Earlier in the day, three helicopters will land at 10 a.m.

• Pastor Mike Dillman and the congregation of the Place of Refuge will join Word Alive Fellowship from Mi-Wuk conduct a public service. All veterans present will be presented with a “Not Forgotten” commemorative hat.

• A classic car and motorcycle show registration will start at 8 a.m.

• The concessions, kids’ energy zone, petting zoo, car show and exhibits will open at 11 a.m.

• The 50-state memorial with 5,800 crosses in honor of those who have given their lives in the Global War on Terror will open at 11 a.m.

• Community entertainment starts at 11 a.m.

• A full-scale USO Show from 3 to 5 p.m. featuring Denver & The Mile High Band that won the televised competition to become America’s next big band.

• The evening ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. with master of ceremony Phil Waterford featuring wounded warriors, vets of all generations, Congressman Jerry McNerney, a Navy jet flyover and a 21-gun salute using Army cannons.  

• Aerial fireworks to celebrate the safe return of all who have served will begin at 8:30 p.m.

• A replica of the Tomb of the Unknown soldier will be at Woodward Park.

• Over 200 classic military vehicles will be on display.

• The Ripon Police bagpipe band will perform.

• An authentic military mess tent from World War II will be set up.

• Manteca Police will perform SWAT and K-9 demonstrations.

There are also plans for a Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 31, on Yosemite Avenue from Library Park to Manteca High in downtown Manteca. The parade is being organized by the Manteca Chamber of Commerce. Call 823-6121 for details.

A hosted dinner at Prestige Senior Living for 42 Gold Star families within a 50-mile radius of Manteca that have lost a son or daughter in the Global War on Terror will take place Saturday, May 29. They will travel from Prestige Living to Woodward Park by police escort for the dedication of the ninth panel of the Traveling Tribute.

Taps on Memorial Day evening at 7 p.m. will officially close the event.