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Did you attend the Berger Center recognition of our Veterans? If not don’t miss next years event. Kiwanis, OVA, the Gardens, McBride and Century 21 Realtors will combine efforts to honor our Veterans again in 2022.

Kiwanian Charlie Ensley wrote an article for the newly named “Annadel Neighbors” which previously was called “Oakmont Living”. The article was titled, “History of Oakmont Veterans Day Recognition”. Charlie has given me permission to quote from his article, just in case you missed it.

“Until 2005 there was no official recognition of Veterans in Oakmont. That year, an Army veteran named Mel Ruiz took his golf cart, waved a flag, and accompanied three friends in golf carts and they rode around Oakmont streets on November 11th. It grew a bit year by year, including a few classic cars, until 2010, when Mel approached the Kiwanis Club of Oakmont and asked if they would sponsor the event. They agreed, and over the years since, it grew in size and scope. Mel was unfortunately exposed to Agent Orange while he was a Medivac helicopter pilot in Vietnam and died in 2014. In his memory, his wife, Kathy Ruiz, has been part of the Veterans recognition since. As the event and parade grew over a decade, Kiwanis was joined in sponsorship by Oakmont Gardens, McBride Realty, Century 21 Realty, and Oakmont Village Association. We are grateful to each group for what they have brought to these appreciation events. Unfortunately, we can no longer facilitate the popular parade due to liability and safety issues and problems closing off the city streets here in Oakmont.”

Charlie Ensley, 11/11/2021

Oakmont’s recognition of America’s veterans on November 11th at the Berger Center was really a touching program. Hats off to OVA’S tech wizard, Colin, for letting the audience see all participants on the big screen. The sound was enhanced so all could hear what was said. AND, didn’t Boy Scout Troop # 55 perform so perfectly in the Berger Center and earlier for the flag raising at the Gardens? That took a lot of practice. Vocalist Ed Dufault was a joy to hear with Deborah Knapp accompanying him so beautifully on the piano. Captains Bob Cortelyou as chair and Jim Knapp as master of ceremonies led the audience superbly as veterans stood when their service anthem was played. Charles Ensley, Kiwanis Club and Kathy Ruiz, wife of Mel Ruiz spoke on the history of Oakmont’s Veteran’s Day celebration and the role veteran helicopter pilot, Mel Ruiz, played in starting Oakmont’s recognition of Veteran’s Day. Mel was a true hero who also belonged to Kiwanis. Many here in Oakmont remember Mel and all he did for Oakmont and our country. We thank Kathy for her inspiring talk. And thanks to Charlie for the history lesson. We learned more about the active Oakmont Veteran’s Club from their President, John Adams. A very nice complimentary lunch was provided by Oakmont Gardens. Mc Bride and Century 21 realty companies. The weather cooperated perfectly so guests could enjoy lunch outside on the patio.

The Kiwanis Club enjoyed, as always, helping bring this event to Oakmont members. Come see us next year and if you would like to help, please join us. Contact our president, Fran Lazzarini, emai: franlazz43@aol.com or phone 707-521-9024.

If you would like to help Kiwanis in the events we sponsor, contact Kiwanis President, Fran Lazzarini. Email-franlazz43@aol.com or 707-521-9024

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