By Myra Maldonado
CSUB cheerleaders and dancers honored veterans by walking with the Korean War Veterans Association in the Veterans Day parade. They also sold T-shirts at Monday’s basketball game with all proceeds going to Wounded Warriors, which provides assistance to veterans and those who have been injured in war.
“I love being a part of something positive. We do this to recognize those people who have fought for our country. I can’t think of a better way to give our time,” said dancer Kendra Watkin, 19, a child adolescent family studies major.
Rain For Rent owner Cynthia Lake, 51, donated the use of a flatbed for the Veterans to ride in the parade, along with all the patriotic streamers and flags that decorated the float.
“We enjoy doing charity work with the community because it bring us together,” said Lake. “My dad who passed away last year was a World War veteran, so this means a lot to me and I want to give back.”
About 15 veterans, along with 5 Bakersfield High School ROTC students, sat on a low-bed trailer with their mini flags ready to wave at the crowd.
“My favorite part is seeing the children waving and smiling at us as we pass, warms my heart every time. I’ve been doing this for 13 years as an original chapter member,” said 85-year-old retired Army veteran, Jeryl Matthews.
One veteran, Victor Pesina, 82, who served in the Navy for two tours overseas said, “I will be receiving the Medal of Honor for saving Lieutenant General Ridgeway’s life. He was caught in fire and I went in for him and brought him out.” He was also credited for saving the 1st and 2nd platoon which on average had about 140-150 men.
“Being around these veterans gives us a sense of pride and we really like doing these things for our community and our veterans,” said cheerleader and criminal justice major, Brittaney Trott.
The cheerleaders and dancers lead the way for the float, down the parade route, throughout downtown Bakersfield, handing out flags to the crowd and inviting them to the Monday night basketball game. According to spirit coordinator Arthur Smith, “Any veteran who shows a valid military ID gets into the game at a discounted price.”
Jim Kaspar, 55, Rain For Rent operations specialist, said, “This is my first year doing this with the Korean Veterans. I usually drive another float, but I wanted to give back and do this event. It was an easy decision because my dad was a World War II veteran.”
The President of the Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 211, Michael A. Stabol, retired Marine, said, “We appreciate what the younger generation has done for our veterans and for me. We want them to know how much we value them and what they do for us. From the Lake Family to the students at Cal State, we recognize their time and efforts and we as a chapter are grateful for it.”