Antioch honors veterans with annual ceremony, parade

Joined by past Antioch Veterans of the Year and a representative from Congressman Mark DeSaulnier’s office, Autrey James (center) and Pat Jeremy (right) were honored as 2022-23 Antioch Veterans of Year during the annual Veterans Day ceremony on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Veterans of the Year announced

By Allen D. Payton

On Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, Antioch veterans were honored during a ceremony in which the Veterans of the Year were named and the 25th anniversary of the Veterans Memorial monument was celebrated, followed by the parade down W. Second Street. The ceremony also featured speeches by U.S. Coast Guard veteran, Autrey James, the past Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Legion, Department of California, and student speakers, Bryce West of Belshaw Elementary and Oghenerun’or Pinnock of Deer Valley High.

Organized by the Delta Veterans Group and led by J.R. Wilson and Velma Wilson, the ceremony began with an opening prayer by Father Robert Rien of St. Ignatius Catholic Church, then the Antioch Police Department Honor Guard provided the Presentation of the Colors and the Raising of the American Flag in the center of the Veterans Memorial at the foot of L Street. The Pledge of Allegiance was then led by Matthew Wilson followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Claryssa Wilson.

The combined marching bands from Antioch High and Deer Valley High Schools performed the anthems of each branch of the U.S. military during the ceremony.

Veterans of the Year

Pat Jeremy was then honored as the 2022-23 Veteran of the Year for his work with local efforts by Antioch’s 2021 Veteran of the Year Bill Ridle who was joined by other past Antioch Veterans of the Year. He was presented with a plaque, Certificate of Recognition from Congressman Mark DeSaulnier and a special jacket with his name and honor embroidered.

James was also honored as the 2022-23 Lifetime Veteran of the Year James and was also presented with a plaque, Certificate from DeSaulnier and a special jacket embroidered with his name and honor.

Oakview Memorial Park was honored as the Presidential Veteran Supporter. Managing Partner Jarrod Bolliger was joined by J.R. Wilson and a representative of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier’s office.

New awards were presented this year, including the Presidential Veteran Supporter for a business to Oakview Memorial Park represented by Managing Partner Jarrod Bolliger.

Debbie Jeremy and her son Tim were honored as Veteran Volunteers and joined by J.R. Wilson and a representative of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier’s office.

The Veteran Volunteer Supporters awards were presented to Debbie Jeremy, her son Tim Jeremy, and Pat Dorn and his son, Gavin for their work with veterans including the bi-annual Stand Down on the Delta.

Pat Dorn and his son, Gavin were also honored as Veteran Volunteers and joined by J.R. Wilson and a representative of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier’s office.

Veterans Memorial 25th Anniversary

During the ceremony, Janice Silva-Moore, owner of Silva’s Family Memorials and her brother and Jack da Silva were recognized as the Antioch Veterans Memorial’s 25th Anniversary monument was celebrated. Approved by the city council in 1996, it was created by the company under the then-ownership of their father John Silva, affectionately known as “Chiseler” and erected later that year. It honors all five branches of the U.S. military.

Joined by members of the city council and Delta Veterans Group, Janice Silva-Moore (second from left) and her brother Jack da Silva were recognized during the brief celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Antioch Veterans Memorial.

According to the company, the senior Silva, with more than 20 years of experience, purchased the Vallejo Monument Company in 1974 and the Antioch Memorials property in 1975. A second-generation memorialist, John, merged the two to become Silva’s Memorials. He was a veteran, as well, having served in the U.S. Army as a Military Police Officer, rising to the rank of corporal while stationed in Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica (left) with the Silvas at the Antioch Veterans Memorial monument.

In 1995, a national competition was announced seeking proposals for a new Antioch Veterans Memorial. A call for submissions was issued, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6435 members and the City of Antioch. Several design criteria were incorporated to meet the needs determined by the VFW and Design Committee. Those were established to ensure a patriotic aesthetic, ongoing durability and a respectful presence.

The monument sits at the foot of L Street between the entrances of the Antioch Marina and Boat Launch parking lots

Other Presentations

That was followed by a presentation by Rich Hiebert about his great uncle, entitled “Killed in Action the Story of Lloyd Hiebert” who died in the Philippines during World War II on July 30, 1945.

Antioch Chamber executive, Daniel Sohn, spoke briefly as the California Board Member of the U.S. Selective Service System, about 18-year-old males being required to register for the military.

Sponsors

The day’s events were sponsored by VFW Post 6435, American Legion Post 161, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 154, Antioch Rivertown Veterans Lions Club, Delta Veterans Group, Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill, Tri Delta Transit and the City of Antioch.

Parade & Bell Ringing

The ceremony was followed by the parade in historic downtown Rivertown beginning at 11:00 a.m. win honor of the end of World War I with the signing of the armistice at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The parade was briefly stopped for the ringing of the bell at El Campanil Theatre which sounded 11 times.

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