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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fair's military appreciation repays those who sacrificed so much

Fair-goers stand at attention as the colors are presented Friday during opening ceremonies at the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta. (Joselito Villero)
Imperial County came out in droves to recognize the sacrifices of the nation’s military personnel Friday at the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta in Imperial.
What better way to show appreciation for U.S. service men and women than free admission to the fair, said organizers.
Bo Shropshire, fair board president, praised the military personnel as a color guard from Naval Air Facility El Centro paraded just prior to the opening. It was time “for everyone to show appreciation for those on the front lines for their country,” Shropshire said.
Handing out tickets to active-duty personnel and veterans was Korean War veteran Tom Landrum. He wanted to support the vets in any way possible, he said.
One thing he loves about the fair is the “can-do” spirit on the faces of all the children competing in livestock judging and contests, Landrum said. That enthusiasm typifies the American spirit, he said.
And for any military personnel requiring guidance on veterans’ affairs a veterans’ booth stocked a wealth of information in the Preble Building. Vietnam veteran Lee Quarcelino, provided any vets needing guidance accessing a Veterans Administration clinic of benefits with brochures to steer them in the proper direction.
He passed along critical information to those just returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to get them into a program for post-traumatic stress disorder. He also had employment tips from the Employment Development Department to fast-track veterans from the service to the job market.
Quarcelino said he has been attached to the fair since he was a child.
“I’m too old to ride the rides but I love all the exhibits,” he said.

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