American Legion honors veterans; LTCC opens resource center | TahoeDailyTribune.com

American Legion honors veterans; LTCC opens resource center

The community of South Lake Tahoe gathered at the American Legion Post 795 on Friday, Nov. 11, to honor the men and women who served our country and fought to preserve our freedom.

Curt Emrie, a veteran and chaplain at the legion, opened the ceremony with a speech for a large crowd of veterans, friends, family, boy scouts and local first responders.

"We mark this day with expressions of respect for all who have worn the uniforms of our great country," said Emrie.

"Veterans do not take life for granted. Veterans know that duty and sacrifice are more than words, and they love America deeply because they know the cost of freedom, and they know the names and faces of men and women who have paid that ultimate price.

"What price do you place on freedom? For America's veterans and those in uniform today, the liberties granted to them by our great country are sacred and beyond value. When our nation has called upon them to defend our democracy, they have responded without questioning."

For Vietnam War veteran Ron Zehren, the annual event held at the South Lake Tahoe legion — and Veterans Day itself — is incredibly meaningful.

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"It's a big get-together of family and people and the United States of America. It means freedom. It means we have rights. And it's a way to thank the people that fought before us in World War I, World War II, the Korean War," said Zehren before the ceremony.

"It shows that some people remember what this country is all about," added Carl Johnson, a Korean War veteran.

Kenny Curtzwiler served in the Nevada Army National Guard from 1987 – 2008, and attends the ceremony at the American Legion Post 795 every year.

"We need to never forget our veterans," said Curtzwiler, pointing to two plaques outside of the legion that commemorate his son and daughter, who both served and passed away.

On Thursday, Nov. 10, volunteers and the Ladies Auxiliary placed 556 flags at the graves of veterans in Happy Homestead Cemetery.

"That's an amazing number," said auxiliary president Carol Olivas, adding that this year's Veterans Day ceremony looks to have drawn the largest crowd to date.

LTCC VETERANS RESOURCE CENTER

Nov. 10 also marked the grand opening of a new Veterans Resource Center at Lake Tahoe Community College, just in time for Veterans Day.

The center, located in Room A203 on the second floor of the main building, is designed to give LTCC's student-veterans a space to study, but also to access a host of support services.

"Veterans want to transition back into civilian life with all the tools they can get," said LTCC counselor Aaron Barnett, who focuses on serving student-veterans at the college.

The center, funded by El Dorado Community Foundation, provides free snacks, coffee and water for student-veterans, in addition to three computer stations and a textbook lending library.

Readjustment counseling therapist John Keely, who operates out of the Veterans Affairs center in Reno, will be available in the center every Thursday to refer student-veterans to various services and support, including mental health services.

Student worker Greg Hoover, a 20-year U.S. Marine, will also be in the center for 28 hours each week to offer advice and support. Hoover is currently studying at LTCC to become a high school science teacher.

Veterans can also use the center as a resource for accessing veteran educational benefits and financial aid.

For more information about the Veterans Resource Center, contact Barnett at 530-541-4660 ext. 211 or email him at barnett@ltcc.edu.

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