SFVA Hosts Veterans Day Celebration
In November, San Fernando Valley Academy (SFVA) Child Development Center held a service honoring local veterans. “I feel very strongly that we should go back to basics and instill, in the lives and minds of our children, gratitude, reverence, respect, and civil manners to help them have success in life,” said Alma Wesley, the center’s director. “Hence came the idea to invite veterans to school for a Veterans Day celebration.”
For honorees, Wesley contacted retired Lt. Col. Ed Reynolds, Jr., U.S. Air Force, director of the “Wings Over Wendy’s” organization. Five servicemen responded to an invitation from Reynolds, along with members of the Devonshire Marine Corps, who volunteered to do a pull-up exercise presentation. Lt. Col. Jim McMichael, USAF, spoke to the assembly. The program featured presenting of the colors and “Freedom,” a musical presentation by the SFVA band.
“At this point,” added Wesley, “the theme ‘Raising the Bar’ came to mind. Yes, we need to raise the bar in education, civics, morals, and ethics! We need every child to be respectful of the men and women who paid the price to give us freedom to be free.”
SCC Veterans Sabbath
James G. Lee, Jr., SCC Community Services director; Betty Cooney, then acting SCC Communication director; and Roger Rustad, Director of Spiritual Care for Sonoran Winds Hospice, collaborated on a Veterans Sabbath in November. Held at Community Adventist Fellowship in Pasadena, more than 40 veterans received certificates of appreciation and personalized dog tags. NAD Western Region Assistant Director of Chaplain Ministries Ivan Omana presented a special challenge coin to each veteran.
To lead off the morning service, Pasadena church Pathfinders presented the colors. Fred Knopper, NAD producer/director of Marketing for Media, presented “The Faith of Desmond Doss,” an inspirational message highlighting Doss’s heroism during World War II. Doss, an Adventist medic who saved the lives of more than 75 fellow soldiers, was the first noncombatant to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Highlights of the service also included guests Gabe Videla, executive producer of the documentary film “The Conscientious Objector” and associate producer of “Hacksaw Ridge,” a Hollywood production about Doss’s story. Videla introduced Bill Mechanic, producer of “Hacksaw Ridge.”
“What I loved was that Desmond was perhaps the most unique hero I’d ever heard of,” said Mechanic, “a man of such strong conviction and faith that he went to extraordinary lengths to be able to fight for his country, and that he had such a strong sense of humanity he refused to kill.”
The day ended with a screening of “Hacksaw Ridge.”