“Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death.” – Former General of the Army, Omar Bradley
Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and professions. This year thousands of men and women bravely put their lives on the line fighting the fires that engulfed our region. Our local law enforcement officials put themselves in danger every day to keep our neighborhoods and schools safe. For these actions we will always be thankful. This week, however we honor another community hero, our veterans.
Veterans Day is a day Americans set aside to honor the millions of men and women who have served our country. As their neighbors and friends, it seems only appropriate to take a day to recognize and honor the sacrifices of these men and women to ensure our freedom.
Originally called Armistice Day, November 11 was set aside in 1919 to recognize the service of the four million Americans deployed during World War I. Since that time almost 23 million Americans have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Of those still living, more than two million of them call California home.
As a legislator, I have the distinct honor of annually recognizing a Veteran of the Year from my district. During the course of that selection process I have come across so many stories of heroism. The branches of service, the hometowns, and the battles fought may differ, one thing remains constant – these individuals have selflessly demonstrated their belief in freedom; and continue to serve our communities well after their military tour of duty ends.
This year I selected John “Top” Schuler, as my Veteran of the Year. A veteran of Desert Storm and Vietnam, John served in the United States Army for 25 years, and was awarded the Purple Heart. Like so many veterans, John’s dedication and service to our country did not stop upon leaving the Army. For the last 26 years, he has tirelessly worked on national and state veteran’s causes. He played a key role in the development and organization of local Stand Downs and has established an annual “Wounded Warrior” fishing derby. This year alone, he estimates he has completed over 2,100 volunteer hours.
Providing services for veterans, whether they are newly returning, struggling or aging, must be a priority. The Central Valley is fortunate to have two fairly new veteran’s facilities: the Veterans Home in Fresno and a state of the art Veterans Outpatient Center in Modesto.
The Fresno Veterans Home is located at 2811 West California Ave, Fresno 93706 and can be reached by phone at 559-493-4400 or toll free: 855-769-5792. The new Modesto facility is located at 1225 Oakdale Road in Modesto and can be reached by phone at 209-557-6200.
On this Veteran’s Day – and any other day — please remember to thank a veteran for the service he or she gave us all. Without their service the United States and the world would be a much different place.
Senator Berryhill represents the counties of Amador, Calaveras, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and parts of Fresno, Madera, Sacramento and Tulare.