Veterans honored across the Central Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

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Event honoring Buchanan High School graduates gives back to veterans

By Amanda Venegas

On this Veterans Day many around the Valley took time to remember service members, including the friends and family of two best friends who died in the line of duty. Jared Hubbard and Jeremiah Baro died in 2004. Both attended Buchanan High school in Clovis.

Service and sacrifice were on the minds of many who came to the 9th annual Hubbard-Baro Golf Tournament. Year after year, people gather to honor the lives of Jeremiah Baro and Jared Hubbard, and Jared's younger brother Nathan Hubbard. The men were all killed in the line of duty. Several of their former Buchanan High classmates were a part of the patriotic event.

"I'm proud that they were my friends and not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for what they've done," volunteer Beth Rodrigues said.

Hubbard, Baro and other fallen heroes from Buchanan have touched many lives. Veteran and former teacher Don Vanness came out to honor them.

"It's very tragic their lives were lost and it's very sad that they didn't get to enjoy the family life that many of us do have," Vanness said.

While the event is a stark reminder of the price of freedom it also is a chance to honor other veterans. Proceeds from the event go to the Veterans Affair Mental Health Medical Center.

Clovis veterans honored with pancakes

Veterans in Clovis were honored for their service by way of Monday.

Dozens of families were served a pancake breakfast at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District. The annual breakfast is part of a fundraiser to benefit the Fresno VA Medical Center. The money collected will be used to buy much needed new medical equipment.


Veterans Day came early to 69 WWII Veterans on the Central Valley Honor Flight

By Warren Armstrong

It was a very special veterans day for dozens of WWII heroes from Central California. They recently returned from a remarkable final mission to our nation's capital.

Veterans Day came early this year for 69 WWII veterans from Central California. The former fighting men received this joyous welcome home from the public after the Central Valley's first honor flight to Washington D.C.

The sacrifice and commitment to duty of the WWII veterans are respectfully honored at the WWII memorials in Washington D.C.

Valley veterans toured their memorial as the highlight of their recent honor flight trip. The memorial features monuments and engravings to the major theaters, battles and important dates of WWII.

The memorial recalls a time of national unity against a common cause. Most importantly the memorial honors the millions who served the country, and the hundreds of thousands who paid the ultimate price of freedom.

Fresno Veteran's Day parade enjoys large crowd

By Dale Yurong

Sunny warm weather greeted the thousands of people who turned out for the 94th annual Veteran's Day Parade in Downtown Fresno.

Midday fireworks got the veteran's day parade going as thousands lined the streets to say thanks.

Whether they were part of the greatest generation or serving active duty, the veterans were grateful for the warm reception.

Jordan Hopkins has served three tours with the U.S. Army in Iraq. He said, "It's a great feeling when to see when someone comes up to you and shakes your hand and says thank you and shows the gratitude and support for the sacrifices that you've made."

Korean War veteran Richard Keith and his son in law Duke Henry enjoyed premier seating from their pickup truck.

"I'm glad we can still put on a nice parade like this. It's really great that Fresno can do something," Keith said.

Henry is a Vietnam War veteran. He explained, "Oh it really feels good. We didn't get that when we came back. We were pushed off to the side so it makes me feel good."

Members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team were a big hit with the kids but for many families the parade offered an opportunity to teach the younger generation about sacrifice.

"It teaches them a lot to enjoy the history and what's going now with the present with the military," Lucy Flores-Tyler said.

Some enjoyed the marching bands while others came to pay tribute to family and friends. Barbara Tyler worked at the VA hospital for 22 years before she retired.

"It just touches my heart really and I have brothers in the military, Vietnam, Navy. To see what these veterans that I worked with, I know what they went through," Tyler said.

Air Force veteran Raul Alviso said, "Well this is the parade we missed when we came back. That's the way I look at it."

Fresno's Veteran's Day Parade remains one of the biggest in the country. Patriotic fever ran high in Downtown Fresno with people proudly waving flags of all sizes.

Help for a 92- year-old Valley veteran victimized in a vicious attack

By: Linda Mumma

A Valley veteran beaten in a home invasion robbery nearly three weeks ago received a helping hand Veterans Day from members of the military.

Monday dozens of men and women from various branches of the military came to the aid of 92-year-old veteran Josef Martin. Armed with shovels, paint brushes and other household tools troops from various branches of the military helped the WWII veteran.

Fresno navy recruiter Christopher Martin said he was compelled to take action after learning a group of people broke into Josef Martin's home beat him with a gun and shoved him in the closet. The suspects took off with $200 dollars in cash and some rings they ripped from his hands.

Martin says he still gets headaches from hitting his head against the wall in the closet, but his health is ok. Monday Martin's new military family installed motion detector lights and a new security system.

Sheriff Deputies are still searching for the three men and one woman suspected of committing the crime.


Hundreds attend Lemoore's first Veterans Day parade

By Mariana Jacob

On Veteran's Day many people showed their support throughout Central California. Hundreds turned up in the South Valley to celebrate Lemoore's first Veteran's Day Parade.

On Veteran's Day, crowds of all ages lined D Street to express their immense gratitude. "It's just overwhelming, we are so grateful to be a part of the community that supports the navy so much," said Melissa Day.

"My dad is here, he's an Air Force Veteran so we came out to celebrate with him," said Randra Ratzlaff.

For Lt. Cdr. Sean Skinner, who works at Naval Air Station Lemoore, this was a touching tribute that made him nostalgic, "It means honoring what my father did for 25 years in the navy, honoring all the other people who have served, plus all the people who are serving now," said Skinner. On Monday some veterans showed up in souped-up cars. Others waved from decked out floats. Organizers say these real life heroes drew such large crowds.


Field of Honor ceremony honor service members and first responders

A week long tribute to service members and first responders in the North Valley ended Monday with a closing ceremony.

The Field of Honor at Merced College has been filled with 1,000 American flags since last weekend. The Merced Sunrise Rotary club organized the event to recognize heroes from the past and those still living.

People could sponsor a flag in honor of their loved ones. Monday those who purchased flags were invited to pick them up and carry them in Merced's Veterans Day parade.


Annual Veteran's Day parade held in Porterville

A South Valley tradition to honor veterans continued Monday in Porterville.

Monday was the annual Veteran's Day parade in Porterville. Thousands of people lined the streets to check out the floats, hear the school bands and watch other performances. More than 150 floats headed down Main Street for the parade. Organizers say the event draws people from all across Tulare County.

"Every year that I've been here in Porterville in 1969 I've attended the parade, the biggest and best in the valley for such a small town. Porterville has always been a very patriotic town," Navy Veteran Brian Adams said.

This year's theme for the Porterville parade was The American way, family, community, and nation.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National park offers free admissions for veteran

By Sara Sandrik

Some national parks honored veterans Monday by offering free admission. For some families, it was a chance to make up for trips they missed during the government shutdown.

The government shutdown kept Yosemite closed during the last three day weekend for Columbus Day. But on Veterans Day many families took advantage of the free admission and the unusually warm weather.

The fall colors and mild temperatures were reason enough to visit Yosemite.

"It's absolutely gorgeous. We drove all the way from Visalia, and it's just beautiful out here today," Josie Cavagnaro from Visalia said. But many tourists have also enjoyed having entrance fees waived.

"It did help us. We ended up having to bring two cars instead of one, so instead of paying $40 we got to come in for free." Andrea Davis from Fresno said.

The national park has offered free admission over the Veterans Day weekend since 2006. It's a way of honoring all those who have served our country, including more than 100 veterans who work in Yosemite. The tribute hits close to home for Andrea Davis, whose father in law served in the military.

"It's really just special because they do so much for us and for them to honor everyone by letting them come in for free on the veterans behalf is just awesome," Davis said.

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