Remembering our heroes

By Brittany Robles / Staff Writer

By Brittany Robles / Staff Writer

The 8th Annual Remember Our Heroes event took place this past weekend at Fairmount Park. Moms of Military, a prayer and support group for women with loved ones in the military, brought this wonderful event together to show support for our troops and to remember the fallen and those of 9/11. The event produced many people, despite the heat, and was a welcoming environment for all.

There were tents set-up along the band shelter, each one with different activities such as face painting and balloon animals. Other tents had snacks. The Moms of Military had their tent next to the American Legion Post 289. Next to those was a tent honoring the victims of 9/11 with photos for each of them and an image of a candle next to their names.

In the main area people brought camping chairs and food to have picnics of their own and listen to the live band play. Others who weren’t picnicking enjoyed spending quality time with their families at the park and taking in all the festivities of the day.

Around the park there were police officers, retired Air force and Marine members and active-duty soldiers. The CHP had their own tent set-up next to the EMT’s and some military convoys. There were also three sheriff women on their horses looking over everything and handing out stickers to little kids who went over to pet the horses.

A Riverside Police Officer who works in the Canine Unit held a demonstration with one of their dogs alongside another officer, whom was a specially trained dog-handler.
“This is my first year attending the event. I used to work on the south side of Riverside, so I went to events on that side,” said Vance Hardin, a Lieutenant for 30 years on the Riverside Police Department. “Now, that I work in the north area, I attend events over here.”

Lieutenant Hardin has lived in Riverside his whole life. He attended RCC then went to California Baptist University. His father was a police officer too, so that’s what enticed him to join the Force. Hardin works for the Area Command, but has also worked the Gang Units, Narcotics, SWAT Team, and Watch Command.

After things got settled Brian Jerz sang some slow Jazz songs until it was time for The Master of Ceremonies. Dallas Colvin said “The Pledge of Allegiance” and Mckaela Dillon sang “The National Anthem”, “God Bless America” and, of course, “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

Mary Badalamente, the leader of Moms of Military, said a few words, along with Mike Gardner and Rusty Bailey and Pastor Dan Bishop said a prayer. When everyone was finished with their speeches they unveiled the banners for eight oldiers who gave their lives serving our country.

Bill Stamper was one of the Firefighters on stage during the whole ceremony. Stamper has been a Battalion Chief for 35 years with the Riverside Fire Department.

“This is my second or third time coming to this,” said Stamper. “It was hard to get a job anywhere thirty-five years ago and I took a dozen exams. Riverside was the one to pick me up. I liked the idea of helping people when they are most in need and can’t help themselves.”

He listed the five stages firefighters have to go through from firefighter to engineer to Captain then First Line Supervisor, to upper management, Battalion Chief, and the last step is Chief of Department.

To begin the conclusion of the event a soldier and a leader from the Moms of Military group did the Reading of Names for our fallen heroes, which went all the way back to 2008. When they were done, there was a “moment of silence” led by Pastor Dan Bishop, while the Marines did a gun salute, played the bagpipes, and an around-the-neck drum, all during the candle lighting.

Everyone gathered around the stage with their candles in hand and stood quietly honoring and remembering our heroes.

For more information about the Moms of Military visit their website at http://www.momsofmilitary.com or call 951.359.3582 ext. 105 or email them at momsofmilitary@sbcglobal.net. They hold their meetings at the Riverside Free Methodist Church on Diana Avenue on the fourth Thursday of each month.