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Honoring those who served Showing gratitude to our military veterans and their families by Julian Peeples


s classified school employees, we all work in service of public education, the people in our communities and the children they entrust with us every day. We understand and appreciate the importance of this trust and our service to society through our work every day. For military veterans and their families, service takes on a much different meaning. Service means being away from the people you love for months or even years at a time. Service means possibly being in danger—sometimes a lot of it. Service means putting the needs of your nation above your own. Service means leaving home and maybe never coming back. Many veterans return to work in public schools when their military service is complete. The



dedication to shared values and a righteous mission makes classified school work a good fit for vets returning to civilian life.

“For our veterans, we hope that these words show our sincere appreciation for your service and sacrifice.” “Many of you would probably be surprised by how many veterans you work alongside every day,” Association President Ben Valdepeña said. “And that’s something that’s so special about veterans—they’ve given so much of themselves to our country and our way of life, and yet they rarely desire or get attention and accolades for their sacrifice. Veterans didn’t serve for our appreciation, but we should always appreciate that they served.”

Every year, in honor of this special bond of service that unites CSEA members and our veterans, we spotlight and showcase school workers who served in our military. We’ve profiled members with amazing stories of adventure in defense of liberty and touching tales of self-improvement. And we’ve provided many of our members who are military veterans the chance to tell us what Veterans Day and service mean to them.

“I hope you take time to recognize and thank our vets in your chapters and school districts. Their service and selflessness deserve our respect.” “This year, we’ve asked some of our members to share what they’d like to say to their fellow CSEA members who are

veterans and everybody who has served with honor in the United States Military. For our veterans, we hope that these words show our sincere appreciation for your service and sacrifice,” Valdepeña said. “For the rest of us, I hope you take time to recognize and thank our vets in your chapters and school districts. Their service and selflessness deserve our respect.” You’ll notice that many of the comments on the next few pages express gratitude to the families of soldiers and veterans for their sacrifices. This year’s section is also dedicated to all the family members—husbands and wives, daughters and sons, nephews and nieces, siblings, parents and grandparents—who know full well the meaning of the word service and understand the cost of defending our nation and our freedom.

Our country owes so much to our veterans. These brave men and women volunteer to serve their country not knowing what their future holds. They might be stationed stateside and never see war. Many end up defending us against evil all over the world. Either way, these brave men and women put their lives on the line daily for all of us. As often as I can, I stop and thank them for their service. I have paid for meals at restaurants and even a bar tab or two as a small token of appreciation for all that they do for us. Veterans didn’t serve for our appreciation, but we should always appreciate that they served.” — Ben Valdepeña

Association President Yucaipa-Calimesa 209

I feel that our military veterans are the bravest and most selfless people in our communities. They sacrificed much to serve our country to protect our freedom and make our country safe. Without these brave men and women out on the front lines protecting our homeland, we would not have all the freedoms we all enjoy. Thank you to all the United

States Military service men and women. God Bless America!” — Carmen Alessandro Area E Director State Center College 379

“As a daughter of a retired

Air Force veteran who served this country with honor and dignity, and to all service women and men who served, thank you for your service and sacrifices you have made that has allowed me and my family to enjoy the freedoms we do on a daily basis. And never forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.” — Rameldia Mark Area D Director United Schools 652

“Whenever I see a vet-

eran— most often identified by their hat or active duty personnel—I get the feeling of pride of service and I am reminded of the comradeship that we share. I am also thankful that there are those willing to serve.” — Allan D. Clark

Past President Retiree Council 5000

As a Navy veteran, I know how important it is to remember the sacrifices our service men and women make every

day. Saying that, I would like to extend my wholehearted and sincere thank you to our military for remaining vigilant and maintaining the freedom so many take for granted.

line for your fellow Americans is something I’m extremely grateful for. It’s no surprise that after a career in the military, so many veterans become classified employees. You have a servant’s heart and now you love and protect children. To date, I have not been able to stand at conference during the military tributes and not shed a tear and have a lump in my throat for the overwhelming feelings I have for those who have served our country. Thank you again for your service!”

To mention only a few reasons, thank you for volunteering to fight foreign wars. Spending days, weeks and months in isolation. Dealing with missing your family. The loss of fellow brother and sister soldiers defending our flag and country. And the fear of not coming home. God bless you and God bless America.”

— Kerry Woods

— Matthew “Shane” Dishman Association 1st Vice President Kern High 81

As a son of a Vietnam War veteran, I definitely know the sacrifice you made by serving our country. As classified employees, you still are serving... serving our students. Thank you for your service to our country and your continued service to our students.” — Adam Weinberger

Association 2nd Vice President Perris Valley 469

From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Your willingness to put your life on the

Fullerton High 82

Veteran brothers and sisters of CSEA, we look up to you for being a veteran and you are all heroes to us. With all that is going on around the U.S., when veterans are around there is a sense of safety, which is very important to an educational environment. Although there is just one holiday in your honor, I pledge to honor you every day of my life. It is because of all of you we live in a free country. The Gundersen family proudly displays the American flag on our property on a daily basis.” — Cyndi Gundersen Riverside CCD 535

November/December 2017



As the wife of a Marine Corps veteran, we both thank you for your service to our great nation. And to the military spouses, we honor your sacrifice too! The veterans’ sacrifice will never be forgotten and we will be forever grateful.” — Joyce Recar Fremont 204

Thank you and your families for everything you do for us. We thank your families also for everything they give up. Much love and respect. God bless all of you.” — James Boyd

Lake Elsinore 598

“CSEA is proud of our

members who have served in our nation’s military. Veterans are proven leaders. Every member of the military is focused on the mission at hand and execute their task. Veterans are trained to work side by side with individuals regardless of race, gender, ethnic background, religion, and economic status.



Our veterans have respect for following procedures and thus, know the importance of making sure members, chapters and leadership follow CSEA policy. Every veteran, depending on their branch of service, live with guiding principles. As an Army vet, I strive to live my life with Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.” — Chris Torres Walnut 446

“My dear veteran brother

Pat: I worried about you and prayed for you each and every day you were gone. And I am so immensely happy and thankful that you came home to us to live the beautiful life you’re living. I love you.” — Mary Lisi

College of the Desert 407

You are the true heroes of our beliefs. You have sacrificed more than most of us will ever know. I thank you for all you did and what you continue to stand for. Words seem trivial. When I stand, salute our flag, and sing our national anthem

proudly, it is because you gave that to me and all Americans. May God continue to bless you and this country.” — Marie Rosales

Placentia-Yorba Linda 293

I would like to thank veterans for their service and their sacrifice, leaving their loved ones, to protect and serve this great country and its people of all races. Thank you for keeping our freedom and protecting the USA!” — Catherine Wind-Muro San Bernardino Co Supt of Sch 633

Thank you for being so brave and selfless and amazing for giving of yourself to protect us at home. Also a huge thank you to your families who also give to have you gone serving.” — Cindi Lokey

Placentia-Yorba Linda 293

Thank you veteran for your service. You have my infinite gratitude. Thank you for being willing to serve away from your home; sacrificing time you could be

spending with your family and loved ones; caring about others you don’t even know; loving your country; putting your life at stake; your dedication to your nation; your public service; your heart and mind; allowing me to live the life I do; allowing me to feel safe; allowing me to celebrate the freedom of speech and thought everyday; and your bravery and courage” — Nancy Malcolm Retiree Council 5013

“Thank you for your service

and sacrifice! Many thanks to your family also, as I am sure that was a time of worry for them! Be proud! Because of you, we are still the land of the free!” — Rita Giehl

Placentia-Yorba Linda 293

First, I would like to thank the men and women who have served our country. Many of you left your family, friends, and some even the country. Your courage is a great example for us, because without you, we may not have what we do now. Our freedom is because of you.

Your bravery through difficult times is extraordinary. And finally, your determination to succeed in all you have done for our country. My heartfelt thanks to all of you.” — Maria Kirlis

Retiree Council 5028

It is humbling to express my appreciation to thank you for physically defending our country for our freedom to live, and thank you for your sacrifices. Veteran CSEA members went from one disciplined service to continue being a servant through the education of children. It shows what a giving heart you truly have.” — Daisy Bennett

Placentia-Yorba Linda 293

As a father to a Navy daughter, brother, brother-inlaw, uncle, and son-in-law to veterans that served, I want to recognize our active-duty military and veterans. We lead the way to better understand the freedom given by our activeduty soldiers and veterans. To give the people choices to

pick religion, where to live, work, where to go to school, and freedom of speech. These choices were defended by the men and women that served and died for our freedom. I pray today for my brothers and sisters to thank you for sacrificing your lives so we could enjoy our freedom. God bless you and thank you!” — Martin Barajas

Charles T Kranz 430

You, the veteran, and those who have gone before you, exemplify what it costs to be an American and to be free. It’s not a day to celebrate with joy, but a day to pay homage to those who have given so much, allowing me to live safe and free in this vast country. It is my heartfelt wish that you, the veteran, find some comfort knowing I truly appreciate you.” — Shanine Incley

Placentia-Yorba Linda 293

First of all, thanks to all who have served and are serving. I never served, but four of my seven brothers did as well as

five nephews. In my small town, I’ve come to realize we have a lot of veterans. Three stand out. One was a Pearl Harbor survivor. Another was a Korean War hero. Last was my grammar school bus driver. He was a survivor of the Bataan Death March. All three were caring fathers, brothers and sons. I’ll never forget them and the impact they had on me.” — Rocky Fordyce

North Coast School Employees 492

Thank you to all our CSEA members who have served in every branch of our country’s military. I appreciate the huge sacrifice of putting in the time to train and prepare for the safety of all citizens. The knowledge base of honorable traditions learned through training is always filtered into the crucial work provided everyday to the community through our CSEA positions. Thank you and know that you are acknowledged and appreciated!”

I would like to tell my fellow members of CSEA who have served our country in the military, thank you so very much! Thank you for your bravery and sacrifice! You have given your time and our words will never be enough to thank you!” — Temika M. Cook

San Diego Chapter 724

What I would like to say to my fellow members who served our country in the military is thank you! Thank you for putting your personal needs and wants aside to protect our country and its citizens. Your unselfish sacrifice is appreciated by millions each and every day we wake up to the very freedom you have provided us. “As the wife of a former POW, I understand the fight doesn’t end upon your return home. Don’t give up; help is just a phone call away. God bless you always.” — Debra Ramirez

Palmdale Chapter 296

— Olivia De Leon Garvey 292

November/December 2017


Focus Magazine  

Veterans Day (November/December 2017)

Focus Magazine  

Veterans Day (November/December 2017)