Last week’s Veterans Day tribute at the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial Park was attended by 250 residents of Wrightwood and beyond. Since the Memorial’s 2009 unveiling and Memorial Day observance, traditions continue to develop from ideas born of the Veterans Memorial Committee members. Wrightwood Elementary students sang patriotic songs as guests settled in; John Garner was their self-proclaimed amateur conductor. Carl “Smitty” Smith emceed the event, as is tradition, introducing various presentations and acknowledging those who gave their time and talent to the ceremony. He pointed out the desire for additional committee members, and a new chairperson, as his health limits his energy for such events. Smitty recalled, in an email, the first Veterans Day event, “Our Veterans Day Ceremony grows bigger every year. I remember the first one was a cold windy day, with about 30 in attendance. We didn’t have a sound system, which made for and interesting program. Thanks to Matt and Renee Merline, his year we have the sound system from the Chamber.” Pastor Dave Conrad gave the invocation, and Claudia Campbell sang the National Anthem after the Boy Scouts of Troop 351 presented the Nation’s Colors. Also following tradition, a guest speaker was asked to enlighten the crowd on in matters of military service. Michele Kraenkel, veteran Army MP, gave a brief history and timeline of women’s service in the United States military. Harlan Lassiter introduced a new tradition to the annual event; the MIA/POW, or Missing man Table. Set to honor the Missing in Action and Prisoners of War, the table is a solemn reminder of those who have not returned, and cannot join family, friends, and comrades at the ceremony/meal. Lassiter read the formal script that explains the symbolism of each item on the table: The table before you is a place of honor. It is set for one. This table is our way of symbolizing the fact that members of our profession of arms are missing from our midst. They are commonly called POWs or MIAs, we call them “Brothers.” They are unable to be with us this evening and so we remember them. This Table set for one is small — Symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone against his oppressors. The Tablecloth is white — Symbolizing the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms. The single Red Rose displayed in a vase reminds us of the families and loved ones of our comrades-in-arms who keep the faith awaiting their return. The Red Ribbon tied so prominently on the vase is reminiscent of the red ribbon worn upon the lapel and breasts of thousands who bear witness to their unyielding determination to demand a proper accounting of our missing. The Candle, the candle is lit — Symbolizing the upward reach of their unconquerable spirit. A Slice of Lemon is on the bread plate to remind us of their bitter fate. There is Salt upon the bread plate — Symbolic of the families tears as they wait. The Glass is inverted — They cannot toast with us this night. The Chair — The chair is empty. They are not here. Remember! — All of you who served with them and called them comrades, who depended upon their might and aid, and relied upon them, for surely, they have not forsaken you. Remember! Remember! — Until the day they come home, Remember! Before Taps was played by bugler Jonathan Spray, and Girl Scout Troop 249 laid a spray of flowers on the Memorial, another new tradition was a highlight of the event. Local members of Quilts of Valor presented ten veterans with comfort quilts in patriotic patterns and colors. Wally Anderson, Kent Armstrong, Larry Boyes, Mike Gurley, Rudy Mendoza, Ernie Mogg, Gary Murawski, Carl Puels, and John Sanchez were the recipients of the handmade quilts. As Joanne Tschantre introduced each veteran, Lynn Crawford, Sandy Brass, Gail Keenan, and Alice Smith draped a one-of-kind quilt over the recipient’s shoulders. Smitty (Carl) Smith was truly surprised and touched, when after the first nine men received their quilts, Joanne announced that he too, was being honored with a quilt. After the close of the event, Boy Scouts from Troop 351 performed a formal flag folding on behalf of Wrightwood resident. Janet Archer asked that the flag which had graced the coffin of her father, Jeryl Andrew Archer, be properly folded and presented back to her. Jeryl Archer’s duration of Enlistment was 1956-1966 in the US Navy. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal twice 1939-1966 (27 years old), Viet Nam Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal. The ceremony was a fitting close to the day’s honorarium.
Rural Crimes Task Force Deputies cite 2 for cockfighting On Thursday, November 10, 2016 at approximately 11:24 am deputies from the Victor Valley Sheriff’s Station responded to a residence in the 8800 block of Aster Road in Oak Hills. Neighbors reported hearing a loud boom and then saw flames coming from the property. Once deputies arrived on scene to assist County Fire, they located numerous roosters housed in separate cages. Deputies asked for assistance from the Rural Crimes Task Force and Deputy Rob Oakleaf and Deputy Randy Stanley, responded to the location. Deputies Oakleaf and Stanley conducted an investigation, which provided evidence of bird fighting. Felix Sapalicio and Raul Sapalicio, both of Oak Hills, were issued citations for animal cruelty with a date to appear in court. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact Deputy Rob Oakleaf or Deputy Randy Stanley at the Lucerne Valley Sheriff’s Substation at (760) 248-7655. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.
22nd Annual Veterans Dinner celebrated a long overdue Graduating Class By Vicky Rinek
With a crowd of nearly 600 people this year, director of the event Todd Anton was beaming with joy. Serrano High School Gymnasium and the PAC were the perfect venues to properly honor the High Desert Veterans for the annual Veterans dinner. The PAC was standing-room only as the San Bernardino Board of Education arranged for a special High School Graduation ceremony for Veterans, of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars, who served their county before completing their high school education. The Serrano Jazz Band performed inspiring music and the Serrano Choral Department performed various patriotic songs in honor of the military veterans and guests. The 22 veterans receiving their graduation honors were joined by special guests included dignitaries from many branches of government. The Operation Recognition Veterans Diploma Project awarded the following Veterans: Louis Avilez of San Bernardino, World War II, Marines (posthumous) James Bezenah of Phelan, Vietnam War, Navy Shelvere Black of Colton, Vietnam War, Marines Edward Cervantes of Victorville, Vietnam War, Army George Cervantes of Loma Linda, Vietnam War, Marines (posthumous) Leonardo Contreras of Hinkley, Vietnam War, Marines Allen Cronk of Apple Valley, Vietnam War, Marines Lewis E. Gayle, Korean War, Air Force Jacob Hall of Landers, Vietnam War, Army Carlos Holguin, of Rancho Cucamonga, World War II, Army Stephen Jacobs of Hesperia, Vietnam War, Navy Melvin Larsen of Phelan, Korean War, Navy Jerry Martin of Phelan, Vietnam War, Marines and Navy Allen Miller of Apple Valley, Vietnam, Marines John Miller of Yucca Valley, Vietnam, Marines Wilburn Milligan of Fontana, World War II, Marines Stephen Morrow of Hesperia, Vietnam War, Marines Ricky Reyes of Yucca Valley, Vietnam War, Army John Rivera of Wrightwood, Vietnam War, Army Fred Romero of Hesperia, Korean War, Navy Roy Rubio Jr. of Upland, Vietnam War, Marines David Villafana of Barstow, Korean War, Army Approximately 150 volunteers from the Heritage Builders Club, and Key Club from Serrano High School, and Quail Valley Middle School and Pinon Mesa Middle School were also there to serve and thank these heroes. Everyone was delighted with the repast provided, (steak and chicken, provided by Outback Steak House). Veterans also enjoyed signing autographs and explaining to many young volunteers, who were seeking additional signatures from as many veterans as possible, what the United States Marine Corps motto “Semper Fidelis” means, “always faithful.” Constantly searching for new ways to serve our veterans, Todd Anton believes he’s not finished for this year, explaining, “We are currently working on next year’s function for the Veterans.” Popular Vote vs. Electoral College Coffee with a Cop returns to Wrightwood
By Terri Hill
On Veterans Day residents of Wrightwood gathered at the Village Grind to have a cup of coffee, a doughnut, and a conversation with members of law enforcement. The Coffee with a Cop program was launched in 2011 by the Hawthorne Police Department, as an avenue for better communication and relationships with the community they serve. CHP officer Matt Hunt organized the first such event in Wrightwood in July of this year. L.A. County Sheriffs in Palmdale have had great success with the program in their city. Deputy Andrew Cronin, assigned to the part of L.A. County that includes a portion of Wrightwood, arranged the Veterans Day social gathering as a step toward introducing more officers from the Palmdale Station with the community they’ve assisted, most recently during the Blue Cut Fire evacuations. Officers from CHP and San Bernardino County Sheriff, and firefighters from Station 14 in Wrightwood also attended. While topics such as vandalism and break-ins were certainly broached, much of the interaction was simply residents desiring to shake hands with and thank officers for their dedicated service. Officers, most of whom are still wearing black bands across their badges, appreciated the words of gratitude and support. Captain Kneer, of L.A. County’s Palmdale Sheriff Station commented, “In 20 years, I’ve never felt so much support from the stakeholders in the communities we serve.” He continued, “People no longer just nod when they pass me on the street, they come over and offer a hug and a ‘thank you’.” L.A. Sheriff Sgt. Andrew Nagel asked that the newspaper reprint the notice regarding Michael Flynn, a 63-year old man who went missing in May of this year. Flynn’s vehicle was found in Llano, and he may have gone hiking in Wrightwood, or to Devil’s Punchbowl. He is described as a 5 feet 4 inches tall with brown hair and blue eyes. Nagel explained that the leads have gone dry, and the official investigation has ended. Still, he and other deputies and search teams have spent volunteer hours on weekends searching the locations that were of interest to Flynn, an avid hiker. “There’s a human aspect,” Nagel said, “You just want to find answers for the family.” To report information on Michael Flynn’s whereabouts, call Sgt. Nagel at the Palmdale Station (661) 272-2400. Coffee with a Cop, arranged by the Phelan Sheriff Station, will be held in Phelan TBA
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961