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9/11 First Responder Keynote Speaker at Patriot Day 2019

OAKHURST — Mountain Area Patriot Day 2019 will give area residents a chance to salute military veterans as well as active duty personnel and emergency responders from around Madera County.

The star-spangled event takes place Wednesday — September 11 — at the Mountain Christian Center Auditorium, located at 40299 Hwy 49.

The program, which begins at 9 a.m., is billed as a 9/11 “remembrance ceremony.”

Sierra Tel sponsors the annual event.

Groups taking part this year include Griswold Mountain Detachment Marine Corps League #1121, Yosemite High School Cadet Corps and YHS Concert Choir.

This year’s keynote speaker, Sergeant Christopher Swanberg, is a 17-year veteran with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and a former Marine Corps combat vet.

Stationed in New York City at the United Nations in September 2001, Swanberg acted as a first responder at the World Trade Center.

He is currently assigned to the Oakhurst area and has also worked in CHP’s West Valley office and Central Division as well as in the Fresno area.

Prior to joining CHP, Swanberg worked for the U.S. State Department, Diplomatic Security Service at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City.

At the time of the 9/11 terror attacks, he also was a member of the New York National Guard.

In May 2017, Swanberg was awarded the California Medal of Valor Award for saving a suicidal subject on a freeway overpass.

The Sept. 11 event is free and open to the public.

Patriot Day organizers encourage all community members to “help us show our appreciation and express our gratitude to all Veterans, Active Duty Military and Emergency Services Personnel for their dedication to our country and to our mountain communities and to honor the memory of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.”

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