Veterans Day Celebration in the MountainView Ballroom

Front row (left to right): Nancy Hendricks, John Reitz, Mike Dunbar, Paul Gaurnier; back row (left to right): Linda Oberski, Jesse Siglow, Alex Lopez, Mike Oberski

Mike Oberski

More than 200 SaddleBrooke residents attended one of the most inspiring and enjoyable Veterans Day celebrations you can imagine. The event was the dream of resident Mike Oberski, accompanied by his wife Linda, to pay tribute to our veterans, both present and past. There were six enlisted level (rank E1-E9) veteran residents who gave their testimony of what being a veteran has meant to them and how it may have changed their lives. The Community Church of SaddleBrooke choir, called the Joyful Voices, directed by Ruth Rehm, sang three patriotic songs, and they were amazing. The celebration started off with Pastor Ron Gannett providing a blessing and led into the Pledge of Allegiance.

Throughout the celebration, there were photographs behind the veterans of their tour of duty as they gave their testimony. At the halfway point of the speakers, a video that raised the emotions even higher was Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room after hearing the touching stories by the enlisted men and one woman. The veterans who spoke were Mike Oberski, Mike Dunbar, John Reitz, our 99-year-old World War II veteran Nancy Hendricks, Alex Lopez, and Jesse Siglow. A seventh veteran from the audience, who also gave a short talk from his chair, was Paul Gaurnier, a 100-year-old World War II veteran. “Taps” was played live at the end by veteran John Reitz on his trumpet.

This total performance was, as they say, over the top and truly an honor. KGUN9 TV was there, too. Some of the celebration was televised on their 10 p.m. station that night. A special thank you to Larry Vineyard and his team who provided the sound and large-screen visual display.