On Wednesday, May 30th the San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis and city council members held a special recognition at the Norton Regional Event Center Auditorium. The event was to honor hometown heroes in military service who have been chosen to be part of the Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program.
The Mayor and Council meeting was called to order. An invocation was given by former Councilmember Rikke Van Johnson, who initiated the Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program in 2012. The program has since been chaired by First Ward Councilmember Virginia Marquez. The meeting continued with the Presentation of the Colors conducted by the California Army National Guard, 1st Battalion, 185th Armored Regiment in San Bernardino.
The National Anthem was sung by Mr. Patrick Rogers. Later on, during the meeting, Patrick sang various military anthems to recognize all branches of the military service.
The Master of Ceremonies was Mitch Cochran 1st Lt. with the California State Military Reserve and Director of the Information Technology Department for the City of San Bernardino.
Lt. Cochran introduced members of the San Bernardino Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program Ad Hoc Committee, who are Marquez, Chairperson; Councilmember Fred Shorett, Fourth Ward; and Councilmember Bessine Richard, Sixth Ward. Each member took turns introducing the eight Military Heroes that were being honored and their family members.
The Heroes are Nicholas Diaz U.S. Army, Domonic Lewis U.S. Navy, Gabriel Mayorga U.S. Marines, Iseah Johnathen Monroy U.S. Army, Tonty David Rutinel U.S. Navy, Gabriel Salines U.S. Navy, Jamie Vasek U.S. Navy, and Cameron James Zink U.S. Army.
Each family was presented a plaque as a reminder of the appreciation for their son’s or daughter’s service and commitment. Family members were able to stand with councilmembers and pose for photographs next to the recipient’s banner.
Marquez stated that the “Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program is totally supported by contributions made from various San Bernardino business sponsors,” and recognized and thanked all the sponsors for their contributions. The meeting concluded with closing remarks from all the councilmembers and Mayor Davis.
One of the honorees was present during the unveiling of his banner, Tonty David Rutinel U.S. Navy was recognized during the ceremony and later posed for a photograph with his family, Richard and Davis.
Two proud fathers from the San Bernardino Police Department, Sgt. Joey Zink and Sgt. John Vasek whose grown children have previously been recognized for military service, have additional adult children who have joined the Armed Forces. Sgt. Joey Zink’s son Cameron James Zink is currently serving in the U.S. Army and Sgt. John Vasek’s daughter Jamie Vasek is currently serving in the U.S. Navy. Both sergeants and their families where recognized and awarded a plaque.
Victoria and James Lewis, parents of Domonic Lewis U.S. Navy, where recognized for their son’s military service. Domonic is on his third year of service and is stationed in Viet Nam. Victoria and James said that they where totally surprised when Domonic first joined the Navy.
The Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program is designed to honor military personnel who reside in the City of San Bernardino. The honorees must be an active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces and a current San Bernardino resident, or have graduated from a high school in San Bernardino, or an immediate family member of a San Bernardino resident. The banners will be on display on light poles on major streets throughout the city.
For more information on the Hometown Military Hero’s Banner Program, go to the City of San Bernardino’s website at SBCity.org under the City Council section for more details. (http://sbcity.org/cityhall/city_council/military_banner_program.asp).