A crisp autumn day greeted about 500 people who attended a Veteran’s Day Ceremony at the Faces of Freedom Friday. A Freedom Flight kicked off the event, as three aircraft from the Estrella Warbirds flew over the memorial in Atascadero. The Central Coast Pipes and Drums followed a Color Guard provided by Cal Poly’s ROTC program.
Among those who attended, San Luis Obispo County Supervisors Debbie Arnold and John Peschong, Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno and Council Members Charles Bourbeau and Mark Dariz. Supervisor Bruce Gibson sent his legislative assistant, Blake Fixler. Supervisor candidate Dr. Bruce Jones and his wife Jo Ann attended.
Veterans stood as Andy Morris played “The Armed Forces Medley.” Veterans were recognized as the song for their branch of service was played. This year, Morris included the new anthem for the U.S. Space Force. Unfortunately, no Space Force personnel or Veterans attended the event.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rod Dykhouse spoke about his experiences as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.
Two dozen Veterans were presented Quilts of Valor by the Gold Coast Quilt Guild.
Marine Corporal Tim Haley presented former John Couch with an award as Distinguished Veteran of the Year. Couch served as a helicopter door gunner in Vietnam. He later served as Atascadero Police Chief. On the memorial, both are members of VFW Auxiliary 2814.
US Air Force Veteran Michael Lasley and his wife Heather Lasely presented a memorial wreath and laid it.
After the event, Kiwanis provided a barbecue for those who attended. Thanks to a SLO County Community Project Grant initiated by Supervisor Debbie Arnold, 100 Veterans received a free lunch.