Jul 14, 2016 at 05:20 PM

A Busy and Productive Six Months for PCVF

By Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation
A Busy and Productive Six Months for PCVF
Captain Laurie Reiprich (left) and John Blankenship (Co-Director of PCVF) on State Street in the July 4th parade. Photo by Ryan Lynch

The first six months of 2016 has been exceptionally eventful for the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation (PCVF).  There have been a good number of Museum “exploratory sessions” at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans and many hours interviewing with the world’s leading museum consultants from the Lord Cultural Group out of Toronto, Canada.

PCVF partnered with the Channel City Club once again to sponsor a well-attended luncheon, with over 300 guests.  “The Korean War – 66 Years On” at the Fess Parker featured five veterans of that war.  We were greatly honored to have the South Korean Ambassador, Lee Key-cheol[HR1] , give a talk and present over 30 medals of recognition to veterans of that war who were in the audience.

The next event was our Memorial Day ceremony at the beautiful Santa Barbara Cemetery.  Over 800 people sang along with David Gonzales and Megan Wilson to their renditions of the National Anthem and Amazing Grace.  Lt. Col. Ryan Novotny from Vandenberg Air Force Base was the keynote speaker.  A spectacular flyover, featuring the Missing Man Formation, was right on time as taps was played by two buglers, Howard Hudson and Bob Bursten.  A luncheon for 75 special guests, including Lt. Col. Novotny and his family, was held at the PCVF Event Center following the ceremony and was a fitting end of our national holiday commemorating our fallen.

Then the 4th of July, Independence Day weekend, arrived and PCVF was the sponsor of an incredibly moving concert in the Sunken Gardens at the historic Santa Barbara Courthouse.  This event, done in conjunction with the Cielo Foundation, capped off a long weekend that included the PCVF WWII Jeep appearing in the parades in Carpinteria, Montecito and downtown Santa Barbara.  The entire celebration of our nation’s birthday marked a turning point in our community, bringing stronger military and veterans elements, which had long been absent, to the occasion.  PCVF is committed to being a major contributor and leader for this important anniversary every year.

PCVF partnered with another nonprofit, These Colors Don’t Run, for an all-day event at the Veterans Memorial Building on July 3rd.  We loaned numerous flags, framed artwork, memorabilia and other items that were on display for the event and remained in place for the bar b que the next day at the end of the parade.

The “Wings of Honor” float was featured in the Summer Solstice Parade and then again on the 4th of July.  It is a well done model of the sculpture that will be installed at the SB Airport in honor of the WWII Marines who served at the Air Base at that location from 1942 – 1946.  On the first of August it will be part of the ceremony at the Airport which will be an announcement of a major pledge from the Chumash Tribal Organization to the completion of the Wings project.

As we look forward to the Vietnam Moving Wall being installed at Chase Palm Park on the weekend of October 13 -15th, as well as the activities surrounding Veterans Day Weekend, we rededicate all our efforts in the name of Pierre Claeyssens.  His reputation and generous support made it possible to gain the reputation and continue our fundraising efforts to make certain Veterans are “Never Forgotten.”

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