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March 3
1882 - George Campton's Newhall general store explodes [story]
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Local military veterans were honored at multiple events across the Santa Clarita Valley Wednesday.

 

VETERANS DAY CEREMONY

On a brilliantly sunny day with American flags waving throughout the city, Santa Clarita residents came out in large numbers to the Veterans Historical Plaza for the 9th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony to honor local veterans – those who’ve served in both past and present, and the families who support them.

The ceremony began with master of ceremonies and veteran Duane Harte asking all those in attendance for a moment of silence in memory of those who lost their lives while giving service to their country.

Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kellar was among the first to speak, saying that in nine years, the ceremony has grown exponentially, noting that in a city and state with unpredictable weather, veterans and those in attendance were treated to, “A beautiful Santa Clarita day.”During the singing of the national anthem by Alesia Humphries, the U.S. coast guard conducted a fly-by to honor those who gave their lives in service to their country.

The ceremony also featured the changing of the flags by the Knights of Columbus Santa Clarita Assembly and Vietnam veterans of America.

Councilman Dante Acosta spoke in recognition of all Gold Star Families for Peace, a United States organization founded in January of 2005 by individuals who lost family members in the Iraq War.

Councilman TimBen Boydston spoke in recognition of the five armed services branches.

The Veterans Day Ceremony was preceded by a barbecue at the American Legion Hall.

 

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

vdayhabitatSen. Sharon Runner was at the Harry Bell Memorial Bench unveiling outside of Habitat For Humanity’s San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley location along with Assemblyman Scott Wilk and members of the Santa Clarita city council.

Harry Bell flew over 50 combat missions as a gunner and engineer. His squadron, the 757, was responsible for bombing and cutting off the main oil supply for the German war machine, according to Habitat For Humanity’s website.

“Over the decades, Bell met with countless veterans to make sure they were welcomed home and and had the resources they needed to integrate back into civilian life, and also served the community through the Shriners Club and other community organizations,” said Habitats for Humanities CEO Donna Deutchman.

The bench was erected by Habitat For Humanity, with the help of the Santa Clarita Rotary, Elks and Shriners Clubs to honor Bell’s service to the country and the community.

Habitat For Humanity has built 271 homes for veterans to date.

“I can’t believe the sacrifice people make just by putting on the uniform, knowing that it could be life or death and have no problem doing that,” Sen. Runner said. “I think it’s so important for veterans to be seen as somebody who is appreciated and I think these homes do that.”

 

BLUE STAR RANCH/HOME DEPOT

The Home Depot along with over 70 volunteers helped to prepare Blue Star Ranch in their effort to provide much needed therapy to veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

There are more than 22 veteran suicides per day from PTSD, according to the Department of Defense.

Emmanuel Perdomo is the first veteran to partake in Blue Star Ranch’s veterans services and said so far, the new therapy seems to work.

homedepot“I was a little resentful at first having to talk to a horse. I talked to my dogs. Somehow, it ended feeling kind of good talking to the horse,” Perdomo said. “It’s really hard to explain, but the horse kind of understands you more than a dog does.”

John Zhe is the Co-founder of Blue Star Ranch and a former veteran.

“When you come back to the states, you’re not really the same…it takes a while, it really does take a while and for the most part you get absolutely no help,” Zhe said. “Most of us make it ok, but some of us have real trouble.”

The use of horses as a form of PTSD therapy goes back to the end of World War I, Zhe said.

“Dealing with a large animal seems to really work. It calms veterans down, gives them more focus and lets them deal better with their families. It’s been a long hard battle and we’re using an alternative, an old alternative to what the VA is supplying right now,” said Zhe.

Kim Cherney is the store manager for the San Fernando Home Depot and was on hand to help organize the projects for the day.

“Over the last five years home depot has donated over 80 million dollars to nonprofit organizations to help out veterans,” Cherney said.

The main project for both Blue Star and Home Depot was the erection of a flag pole. In addition, volunteers built and painted a shed, did lots of weeding throughout the property, built sitting areas for the veterans receiving therapy and also did work on the horse arena.

Home Depot’s work began 60 days ago with various projects for several non-profit organizations that are committed to helping veterans.

 

 

 

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