CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - A decade has passed since the first Citrus Heights Annual Appreciation and Resource Picnic honoring area retired and active duty military and their families.

This year’s event was sponsored by American Legion Post 637 with assistance from members of the GFWC Citrus Heights Women’s Club, and other organizations and individuals. Immediate Past Post Commander Paul Reyes represented newly elected Post Commander Sylvia Thweatt as Master of Ceremonies.

Attendees enjoyed the music of the Citrus Heights Community Marching Band and local DJ Carlos Verette. Wild Wade’s traditional barbeque lunch and children’s activities are a picnic staple. Local and area dignitaries greeted all.

Dozens of services and resources for attendees were provided, along with the highly anticipated donated raffle prizes.

At a young 85 years, the picnic’s Guest of Honor Robert Snyder told attendees he still misses the service. After enlisting in the U.S. Navy at 17 years he served in Korea operating a rocket launcher. In Vietnam, from 1969 to 1970 he fought the war from riverboats patrolling the rivers of South Vietnam. After 22 years, 18 of those at sea, Snyder retired from the Navy as an E6 on the USS Enterprise.

But Snyder was not through serving his country. His “next life” was working for the Department of the Army for 23 years. For eight of those years he worked at the Sacramento Army Depot developing training for members of Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

Snyder continues to be a resource and mentor for all veterans. He owns and operates an antique store, the Curiosity Shoppe in Folsom. He and his fiancé, Dona Kay, an artist, will be married on September 21.

The 2019 American Legion Police Officer of the Year award was presented to K9 Officer Kyle Shoberg for his outstanding service to the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHDP) and his community in the many positions he has held since his hiring in 2010. These include Patrol, Narcotics, SWAT, Special Incidents, and since 2014, a K9 handler and trainer. He is known as a leader and mentor, working in the community and within his own department to improve the quality of life for all.

Following Shoberg’s award, he and fellow officers and their K9s treated picnic attendees to a fast-moving demonstration showing how their motto “Paws Before Boots” plays out when a highly trained K9 can take down and apprehend a suspect quicker and safer than sending an officer into a situation solo. Case in point: Shoberg’s K9 Axel is credited with saving the life of his handler and other officers at a shoot-out with an armed suspect at the Citrus Heights Sunrise Mall on July 9. The suspect shot twice at Alex, missing him, which gave officers time to quickly bring the incident to an end.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - With the appointments of Zoe Dunning, Ed Campbell, and Robin Umberg, the California Veterans Board has added three new members in 2019. Dunning and Campbell were appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom. Governor Jerry Brown appointed Umberg in December 2018. She was sworn in on January 2.

The seven-member board hears appeals by veterans who were denied services, including for a home loan, student waiver, or admission into one of CalVet’s eight veterans homes.

Zoe Dunning joined the board on August 2. A retired commander in the U.S. Naval Supply Corps, the 56-year-old was on active duty from 1985 until 1991. After leaving the military, she worked as a manager for the Deloitte Consulting and A.T. Kearney firms. She then worked in operations leadership positions at Webvan and Chestnut Company before serving as a change management consultant with various firms.

She currently serves on the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, the San Francisco Library Commission, and is on the advisory board for the nonprofit Vets in Tech. Dunning holds a Master of Business Administration in strategy and operations from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Ed Campbell, American Institute of Architects Emeritus, has designed projects nationwide during his illustrious career. A native of Santa Barbara, he joined the Naval Reserve at 17, then enlisted in the Air Force at 19, serving in drafting or logistics duties at Travis Air Force Base, in the Azores, and at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force base.

He was an architect at USA Architects and Engineers from 1974 to 2014.                                   

Campbell, 80, helped found a home for girls in Connecticut. He also helped create the Ventura Music Festival, where he is a resident at the Veterans Home of California-Ventura. It is one of the eight veterans homes owned by CalVet. His list of professional honors includes a citation from the president of the American Institute of Architects for his work in response to the collapse of high-rise buildings in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1987.

Robin Umberg brings the experience of her 36-year Army career to the board. She commanded the 6253rd and 4211th Army Hospitals and deployed twice overseas. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. She was appointed by President Clinton to the West Point Board of Visitors in 2005 – the same year she was promoted to Brigadier General – and ended her military career as the Chief, Professional Services, for the 3rd Medical Command at Ft. Gillem, GA. She focused on battlefield readiness for the more than 27,000 medical personnel. Umberg was inducted into the Order of Military Medical Merit in 2006 and she retired from the Army in 2010.

A year later, Governor Brown appointed her deputy secretary for Veteran Homes at CalVet, and later upgraded her position to undersecretary. She left two years later to beat a battle with cancer. Umberg serves on the Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, and is a member of the Veterans Alliance of Orange County. She and her husband, retired Army colonel and current State Senator Tom Umberg, live in Orange County.

Campbell, Dunning, and Umberg join Board Chair Hugh E. Crooks, Jr., who was appointed in 2014; Charlene Taylor, appointed in 2012; Todd Trotter, appointed in 2015; and John Busterud, appointed in 2017.

Contact the California Veterans Board at
For more information, please visit CalVetConnect
Follow CalVet on Facebook and Twitter

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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The Citrus Heights American Legion Post 637 is once again gearing up to host the annual Veteran’s Appreciation and Resource Picnic to honor the area’s active duty servicemen and servicewomen, our retired veterans of past wars and conflicts, and their families. 

This free event will be held Saturday, August 24, at Rusch Park, 7801 Auburn Blvd. at the Gazebo/Pavilion and picnic area from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All veterans and their families and friends are welcome.

The day will begin with the Citrus Heights Community Marching Band featuring some of its new repertoire. The Folsom Marine Corp Honor Guard will present colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem sung by Air Force Army Veteran James Miranda. Immediate Past Commander Paul Reyes will represent newly elected Post 637 Commander Sylvia Thweatt as Master of Ceremonies.

A special ceremony will again be held to honor an outstanding veteran and this year’s Police Officer of the Year.

Folsom resident Robert Snyder enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17, retiring after 22 years. Part of his service was on the U.S.S. Enterprise. For his second stint of 22 years Snyder worked for the Department of the Army out of the Sacramento Army Depot, helping prepare equipment for use in Operation Desert Storm. Twenty-two years later he again retired from service to his country.

K9 Officer Kyle Shoberg of the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) has served the force for nine years. He will be honored as the American Legion’s Officer of the Year for, among a variety of other accomplishments, “his exceptional performance as a K9 handler, Wellness Advocate and as one for the CHPD’s Top Cops”.

Lunch will be a hot dog and hamburger barbeque with all the fixings prepared by Wild Wade’s BBQ of Citrus Heights. Music will be provided by DJ Carlos Verrett.

Dozens of veteran and non-profit resources including Veteran’s Administration representatives will be available to retired and active duty veterans. Scheduled children’s crafts and other activities will be provided by local Pageant ambassadors and princesses.

Picnic sponsors and members of the community are generously donating gift baskets and other opportunity drawing prizes to show their appreciation to our veterans. Raffles will be held throughout the day.

Covered, accessible picnic tables are available or bring your own chairs, blankets and umbrellas. Thank you for your service.

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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The Veterans Community Center is hosting a Hawaiian Luau Fundraiser from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 17, 2019, at 6921 Sylvan Rd, Citrus Heights, California 95610. This event is open to the public, friends, family, and all those who support our local veterans. The funds from the event will help the Veterans’ Community Center to provide a free and safe place for all veterans in Northern California.

This will be a great time to show support for all veterans and the Center! Tell families and friends to come and spend a great evening with food, fun, and live Hawaiian entertainment. There will be a raffle, silent auction, vendor shopping, and a chance to tour the Veterans Affairs Mobile Resource Center.

Parking will be at the Citrus Heights City Hall parking lot with free chauffeured limo transportation to and from the event. Tickets are only $35 for general admission and $50 for VIP seating.

Tickets can be purchased in person from Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at the Veterans Community Center located at 6921 Sylvan Rd, Citrus Heights, California 95610, or by contacting Michelle via email or phone at 530-961-2649. Deadline to purchase tickets is August 7, 2019.

Be a sponsor! General sponsorship is $200 and includes 2 general admission tickets and a half-page ad in the event program. Premier sponsorship is $350 and includes 2 VIP tickets, a banner display, and a full-page ad in the event program. Contact Michelle Grant at for sponsorship information, advertising, and volunteer opportunities.

Schedule of Events:

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Social Hour - Raffle, Silent Auction, Vendor Shopping, Visit the Veterans Affairs Mobile Resource Center

5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Chauffeur Limo transportation from Citrus Heights City Hall parking lot to Center

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Hawaiian Buffet Dinner

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Live Performance Hawaiian Dancers

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SAFE to match up to $10,000 in donations made to Sacramento Stand Down

By Carole Ferguson, SAFE Credit Union  |  2019-08-01

SAFE CU employees volunteer at a Stand Down event. Photo courtesy of SAFE CU

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - SAFE Credit Union is pledging to donate up to $10,000 in donations made to the Sacramento Stand Down Association to assist that organization in recovering from a recent theft of $40,000 of supplies meant for distribution to Sacramento-area veterans.

Sacramento Stand Down will hold its annual event on Aug. 9-10 where homeless and other veterans in need gather to receive services, medical assistance, and connect with government agencies and businesses to help get their lives back on track. The items stolen in the theft were designated to be given to veterans at the August event.

“When SAFE leaders heard about the unconscionable theft from Sacramento Stand Down Association, they knew that they needed to step in to help,” said SAFE Community and Advocacy Engagement Manager Amanda Merz. “Assisting veterans is one of our main pillars of philanthropy at SAFE and we consider it a privilege to help those who have served us.”

SAFE will match donations made to Sacramento Stand Down Association now through Aug. 10, up to $10,000.

“The veterans that depend on us are in need and now is the time to band together as a community to support them,” said Sacramento Stand Down Association President Randy Smith. “Our promise has been to help and support our homeless veteran population get back on their feet and though this loss has hit us hard, we will not renege on our promise! Our motto is that no brother or sister is left behind, that promise doesn’t have a qualifying statement - it must and will be kept. We thank you for your support and are proud to call you our partner.”

At last year’s two Stand Down events, some 600 volunteers served more than 300 veterans by providing them meals, clothing, medical services, and connections with government agencies, nonprofits, and businesses. Altogether, there are 667 homeless veterans in Sacramento, according to the 2019 Point In Time homeless count. Stand Down works to help homeless veterans who are disabled or mentally ill receive housing.

SAFE Credit Union has made members an integral part of its vision since 1940. Over the years the credit union has kept the focus on what really matters, putting members first, a formula that has seen SAFE grow into a leading financial institution in Northern California with $3 billion in assets and more than 235,000 members. SAFE crafts every cutting-edge product and sterling service with members’ needs foremost in mind.

In addition to banking services conveniently available through online, chat, mobile, or phone options, SAFE offers in-person care for members and small businesses at service centers across the Greater Sacramento region and a mortgage lending office serving Contra Costa and Alameda counties. SAFE is a not-for-profit, state-chartered credit union with membership open to businesses and individuals living or working in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Sutter, Butte, Nevada, Solano, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Yuba, Amador, and Alameda counties. Insured by NCUA.

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Serving California's Veterans and their Families

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Can military sustenance become scrumptious? Can drab be transformed into delectable?

See for yourself at CalVet’s 7th Annual MRE Cooking Challenge, Thursday July 18 at the California State Fair, an event that promises to be tastefully done. The Challenge pairs military veterans and noted local chefs as they look to impress a panel of culinary experts by turning those Meal-Ready-To-Eat packages – often dreaded by folks in the Armed Forces – into gourmet dinners. Or at least into something close.

Considered to be the marquee event of the State Fair’s Military and Veteran Appreciation Day, the extravaganza begins at noon in Cal Expo’s Cooking Theater, California Building B.

Here’s the day’s menu for your viewing pleasure:               

Classic Culinary Cooking Challenge

Noon: To whet your appetite for the upcoming challenge, several members of the California National Guard will take turns in introducing the veterans and celebrity chefs, provide a brief culinary history of the MRE, and host a trivia session. You will also be able to meet with the participants and sample bites from an MRE, getting a taste of what our military men and women dine on in the field.

3 p.m. – Deborah Hoffman of CalVet will be the colorful analyst during the second course. Chefs will vie for three randomly chosen MREs placed in the pantry, or whatever remains. Using their culinary skills and available ingredients, we should be treated to edible works of art … or not!

6 p.m. – And then, the greatly-anticipated main course will be served up by V101 radio personality Big Al Sams. The veterans and chefs, whom you met earlier, will team up to complete their mission: To turn MREs into appealing and tasty meals, using their skills and available ingredients. Judges will pick the winner based upon taste, presentation, skill, and showmanship.

7:15 p.m. – Dessert is Ceremony de awards.

This year’s field includes four veterans: Bryce Palmer, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and chef at Mulvaney’s B&L; Michael Hedin, U.S. Marine Corps, member education unit manager at CalPERS; Rob Gomez, U.S. Army, a California Highway Patrol sergeant; and Shannon Terry, California National Guard and a program director for the non-profit Work for Warriors.

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Memorial Day: Not a Day of Celebration, But a Day to Remember

By Elise Spleiss  |  2019-06-12

The Citrus Heights Police Department motorcycle team escorts a procession of veterans, some in period dress, Boy Scout Troop 228, and members of the community, pausing at four stations to honor those buried from the Civil War, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Photo by Steve Gall

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Memorial Day is not about barbecues, picnics, or races. It is about honoring the sacrifice of more than 1.5 million of our sons and daughters who died in uniform on land and sea and in the air since 1775. However, this number does not include those wounded or missing in action.

This was the theme of the Memorial Day service at Sylvan Cemetery on May 27, 2019. American Legion Post 637 Commander Paul Reyes cited General George S. Patton’s belief that it is wrong to mourn those who died but rather to thank God that “such men lived”.

The Citrus Heights Police Department motorcycle team escorted the procession of veterans, some in period dress including the Sons of the American Revolution, and the rifle guard of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Other marchers included Boy Scout Troop 228, Citrus Heights American Legion Post 637 and members of the community. The procession wound through the cemetery, stopping at four stations to honor those buried who fought in the Civil War, WWII, Korea and Vietnam with a prayer and a salute.

Following other speakers during the service, Police Chief Ron Lawrence spoke of the special bond the U.S. military and police officers share as they all take the oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Lawrence told the dramatic story of one overlooked hero of D-Day who showed extreme bravery under extreme conditions. Fifty-one-year-old General Norman Cota graduated from West Point Military in 1917 with Dwight D. Eisenhower. Cota served his country during peacetime for 30 years before he saw battle on Omaha Beach.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944 Cota was a brigadier general, second in command of the 29th division leading the Allied assault on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France towards the end of War II. His heroic actions that day earned him the Distinguished Service Cross for “personally leading traumatized soldiers through a gap of bloody Omaha Beach” where 2,000 American soldiers died.

The morning ended with a prayer, Harmony Express’s rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, a rifle salute and Taps being played.

Source: New England Historical Society

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