On Wednesday morning, the Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club held a dedication service in honor of nine local fallen soldiers at its garden located near the George Caravalho Sports complex on Centre Pointe Parkway.
Friends and family members of the soldiers joined Rotary members in prayer and the National Anthem in a quiet ceremony under the shade.
Wearing dog tags and buttons in memory of their loved one, teary-eyed family members gathered for pictures around the 10 marble stones dedicated to the soldiers.
The soldiers honored were Army PFC Stephen E. Wyatt, USMC LCpl Richard P. Slocum, Army SPC Jose Ricardo Flores-Mejia, Army PFC Cole W. Larsen, Army SGT John M. Conant, Army SGT Dennis L. Sellen, Jr., Army SGT Ian Timothy D. Gelig, USMC PFC Jake Suter, and Army SPC Stephen E. Colley.
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Following the short service, a lunch was held in the community center. Tribute speakers representing the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines spoke, thanking the families for their sacrifice and the Rotarians for their efforts to honor them
Santa Clarita Councilmember Bob Kellar presented the Rotary Club with a certificate of recognition for the military dedication ceremony.
“‘That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.’ God bless the soldiers. God bless their families.” Kellar closed his speech with a quote from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.
Following the speakers Rotarian Jim Lentini and SCV Rotary Club President, Barry Gribbons, presented the families of the fallen soldiers with certificates of recognition. Family members and friends of seven of the nine soldiers were present to receive the certificates.
The lunch concluded as all the attendees rose and clapped for the families and Gribbons encouraged everyone “To not forget the [soldiers’] sacrifices so we can enjoy these freedoms.”
“Thank you for all you do to honor our fallen. The families of the fallen are lucky to live in Santa Clarita and be supported.” said the father of Army SPC Stephen E. Colley.
To find out about other ways the Rotary Club is supporting soldiers and their families, click here.