Virtual tribute honors veterans and their families

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Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger hosted her annual tribute to veterans and military families Saturday morning in honor of Memorial Day, marking the end of Military Appreciation Month in May.  

The event, organized in partnership with the California Department of Veterans Affairs, aired on Zoom where over 100 people gathered to watch the pre-recorded program. 

Speeches by Barger and several other Los Angeles area dignitaries filled the hourlong program, which also included a presentation of the colors, reciting the pledge of allegiance and singing of the national anthem. 

“The debt we owe to veterans and their families can never fully be repaid. But we will do everything we can to pay our gratitude forward,” said Barger, noting a variety of County initiatives. “Advocacy, legislation and supportive services are just a few of the ways we can try to show our deep appreciation.” 

During the event, Barger invited Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Norwalk, to present the inaugural Hector Elizalde Service Award to Richard Bojorquez, of the Sheriff’s Department Mental Health Division.  

The award was named in honor of Barger’s appointee to the Los Angeles County Veterans Advisory Commission, Hector Elizalde, who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam and died during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“For those of you had the pleasure of knowing Hector, you know he was extremely passionate and was a veterans advocate who went above and beyond every day,” said Barger, expressing her gratitude to all veterans and military families for their service and sacrifice. 

Many veterans who are county employees and nominated for the award were also honored. The many participating dignitaries read the name, military branch and county department of these honorees. 

Barger said she hopes this “long-standing 5th District tradition” will return to Arcadia County Park in 2022. As part of the program, a video showed all memorials to veterans in Barger’s district, including Veterans Historical Plaza in Santa Clarita. 

Breakout sessions providing information about resources on a range of topics for veterans and military families followed the one-hour program that started at 9 a.m. Saturday. 

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