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The Madera Tribune

More about veterans home ceremony

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webmaster | 10/23/13

I bought the Fresno Bee Saturday to see whether it would have pictures of the outstanding event on Friday of the Grand Opening of the Veterans Home for all San Joaquin Valley veterans who need assisted care.

They did put a picture halfway down the front page with a few words under the photo with referrals to more inside the paper, but the story was more than that.

More than 300 guests showed up at 9 a.m. Friday for the grand opening ceremonies.

Charlie Waters and his committee had been working on this project for more than a decade through the bowels of Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

This veterans home is dedicated to all men and women who served in our Armed Forces to keep us safe at home and abroad. This is a “home” that in their final years these veterans can go to with respect and dignity.

I have never seen so many past WWII vets in one place in my lifetime, followed by the other Korean, Vietnam vets and current war vets.

There were stirring songs, speeches and emotion of the event. Valerie Salcedo sang and the Sounds of Freedom played.

Rousing speeches were given by Colonel (Ret.) Diane Vandelpot; Major General (Ret.) Peter J. Gravett, secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs; the Hon. Jim Costa, 16th District representative in Congress; Capt. Monty Ashliman, commanding officer NASL; the Hon. Phil Larson, Fresno County Supervisor; Waters, who is chair of the Central California Veterans Home Support Foundation; Command Sgt Maj., (Ret.) Bart Womack, U.S. Army, keynote speaker. Master of ceremonies, Warren Armstrong news anchor of ABC30, kept the emotion and pride of the event a memorable experience.

I consider it a privilege and honor to have been asked to attend this. With all the political dismay that is going on with Sacramento and Washington, D.C., nothing else but this event should have been on the front pages locally.

The grand opening of the Veterans Home of the San Joaquin Valley was a long time coming. Finally a homecoming for Veterans in need that deserve this honor for serving in the United States of America.

Rick Farinelli, Navy veteran, VFW Post 1981,
County supervisor, District 3, Madera


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