The faces and names of Ceres’ own military service personnel – both past and present – now line several streets of downtown Ceres with the community’s first-ever Military Banner program.
The 31 banners went up Monday on Third, Fourth and North streets in time for Veteran’s Day on Friday and feature the service member’s photo, name, and branch of service. Banners will remain hanging on the poles for a year until their retirement and presented to the family, as a new cycle begins.
At a short ceremony held yesterday morning at the Ceres Community Center, veterans thanked the city for accomplishing the banner project.
Vice Mayor Bret Silveira said the banner project came about after the city renamed Eastgate Park and one of the suggestions was the name of Veterans Park. With the council deciding instead choosing to name the park after the late former Councilman Guillermo Ochoa – based on the numbers of citizen requests – city leaders felt the need to do a “better job” in honoring veterans. He singled out Ceres veteran Gene Yeakley for spurring the city to get the banner idea going.
Yeakley also served on an ad hoc committee to look into the banner program.
“Like we always say in Ceres, ‘Together We Achieve,’ that teamwork is the only reason this happened,” said Silveira.
“We just don’t do this enough,” the vice mayor said. “Whether it’s law enforcement or military or first-responders, we need to recognize those people who are so important to our society and maybe it’s appropriate that we’re doing this today on Election Day which is another very important of our process.”
One of those who attended the ceremony was Marine Captain Victor Tubera who is stationed in Houston, Texas after coming home Sept. 30 from a yearlong deployment to Kosovo. He helped Afghan refugees transition into the American way of life.
“I think it’s awesome, showing support for the military and being able to recognize every branch,” said Tubera, who has been in the Marines seven years after graduating from Central Valley High School in 2015.
“It’s very humbling for me to be honored.”
The Ceres City Council decided earlier this year to use $7,000 of federal ARPA funds to purchase and hang the first of the military banners. Turlock’s All Star Trophies & Banners supplied the banners for $158.40 apiece.
Recreation Manager Joey Chavez said a survey revealed that Ceres is hometown to 123 active service personnel and 22 reserves residing in 95307 95351 and 95358 zip codes.
The city will also be looking for financial sponsors to keep the program running after the first year to pre-empt the need to charge families of the member for the banners. The program is administered through the city Recreation Department.
The banners honor the following military personnel from the past and present and their branch of service:
Ryan Palecek, Navy
Christopher Green, Army
Steven Whitney, Marines
Katelynn Gapuz, Navy
Bruce Williams, Air Force
Walter Butler, Navy
Jacob Sather, Marines
Isaias Jimenez, Navy
Angel Ochoa, Marines
Daran Chan, Army National Guard
Adrian Torres, Army
Joseph Mendez, Air Force
Eugene Warren, Army Air Force
John A. Warren, Army
John Warren, Navy
Jesse Duran, Army National Guard
Victor Tubera, Marines
Brandon Turney, Air Force
Juan Camarena, Army
Eulizes Montalvo, Cal Guard U.S. Army
Julius Tamez, Army
Ryan Jetton, Army
Alexis Lopez, Army
Christian Schneider, Air Force
Dylan Grubeck, Army
Guillermo Piceno Jr., Marine
Dylan Kong, Navy
Eric Branson, Army
Lanny Branson, Army
Glenn Smith, Marine
Ashley Saededdin, Army