Toys for Tots Gift Drop-off at Vet Center

By Elise Spleiss  |  2016-12-15
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It’s “Toys for Tots” time again at the Citrus Heights Veterans Community Center. The local Marine Toys for Tots Foundation collects and distributes toys at Christmas for needy children in the greater Sacramento area.

Congressman Ami Bera has sponsored this event with the Community Center since its inception in 2013. He will be present with his staff to celebrate with the community.

Volunteers from the Veteran’s Community Center will first be at the Citrus Heights Walmart on Friday, Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. to 7 pm. to accept your donations of new, unwrapped toys and other gifts for children of all ages.

Then on Saturday, December 17, the official toy drop-off begins at 9 a.m. at 6921 Sylvan Road, and continues until 2 p.m. Just drive up to the Center and deliver your donation into the hands of a U.S. Marine.

Have your picture taken with Santa and inspect a World War II Jeep and other military memorabilia. Also volunteering will be the Casa Robles R.O.T.C. and Citrus Heights Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.


Sacramento Region Honors the U.S. Naval Construction Force

Source: City of Rancho Cordova  |  2016-11-03

Rancho Cordova’s 11th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony will be held on Friday, November 11 to remember our veterans and honor the missions of the U.S. Naval Construction Forces (Seabees).

Did you serve in the U.S. Naval Construction Forces? You are cordially invited to Rancho Cordova’s Veterans Day Ceremony to be recognized for your service.

The ceremony will be held in the Veterans Memorial Plaza at the Sacramento VA Medical Center, 10535 Hospital Way at Mather. Pre-program entertainment will begin at 9:30 a.m. followed by the commemoration program at 10 a.m. Music entertainment will be provided by the Rancho Cordova River City Concert Band, featuring the “Song of the Seabees.”

The Seabees’ motto of “We Build - We Fight” recognizes the work of the members of the U.S. Naval Construction Forces. The Seabees have a history of building bases, bulldozing and paving thousands of miles of roadway and airstrips, and accomplishing myriad other construction projects in a wide variety of military theaters dating back to World War II. The word “Seabee” comes from the initials “CB,” which comes from the term “Construction Battalion.”

The Seabees first became active on March 5, 1942 during World Water II when U.S. involvement was expected on both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. More than 100,000 Seabees were trained during World War II and have continued to serve since. The Seabees now include 7,000 active personnel and 6,927 reserve personnel.

Ceremony speakers will include Congressman Ami Bera; Senator Jim Nielsen; Assemblyman Ken Cooley; Kathryn K. Bucher, Associate Director of Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive at VA Northern California Healthcare System; Rancho Cordova Mayor David Sander; and Rancho Cordova Council Member Robert J. McGarvey, who spearheaded the first Veterans Day and Memorial Day events in Rancho Cordova. The Vultures Row Aviation Team will provide a flyover towards the end of the ceremony.

The ceremony is sponsored by the City of Rancho Cordova, the Department of Veterans Affairs Northern California Health Care System, AlphaGraphics Rancho Cordova, and Republic Services.

Rancho Cordova City Hall will be closed on Friday, November 11 in observance of Veterans Day. For more information about the event, please call (916) 851-8700.


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Veterans 7th Annual Appreciation Picnic

By Paul Reyes with Elise Spleiss  |  2016-09-15

The girls of Girl Scout Troop 223 were eager to help serve the veterans and went above and beyond their own service during the day.

On Saturday September 27th Citrus Heights held its 7th Veterans Appreciation Picnic at Rusch Park. Some 400 Veterans and their families came to this annual event to spend a day relaxing, listening to music, checking out the many veterans’ resources, and hopefully winning one of the many great raffle prizes.

The event was collaboration with the Citrus Heights American Legion Post 637, members of GFWC Citrus Heights Women’s Club, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 637, Citrus Heights Lions Club, Reichert’s Funeral Home and others who donated food, supplies and the many raffle prizes.

This year’s guest of honor was Alejandro Jauregui of Williams, CA. Jauregui served two tours of duty in Iran and was on his second tour in Afghanistan in 2012 when he stepped on an IED, resulting in the loss of both legs.

Jauregui commented in a text, “I’m very grateful and honored to be chosen as this year’s honoree. WWII vets are often referred to as the “greatest generation”, but I know military friends and I often spoke about how indebted we are to the Vietnam vets. They went through hell and came back to hell and have made sure that our nation’s vets never go through that again.”

Also honored was Sgt. Jason Baldwin of the Citrus Heights Police Department as Police Officer of the Year. His accolades were too many to mention but suffice it to say he deserved the award.

Police Chief Christopher Boyd and his family were also in attendance. Boyd was recognized with a Certificate of Commendation for his 10 years of service as our Chief of Police. Boyd will be stepping down as police chief to become the new city manager, replacing Henry Tingle who retires the end of 2016.

New at this year’s picnic were two “Missing Man” tables, the traditional military version and, continuing with our solidarity with the Citrus Height police officers, a Missing Man memorial was built to remember all police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The Legion received a very appreciative thank you from the police department for this memorial as it meant quite a bit to them all.

The CHPD provided their imposing emergency rescue vehicle, a gutted army tank, a 2009 Navistar Maxxpro MRAP, as a popular photo opportunity.

Horses Healing Heroes, 4 Paws 2 Freedom and Canine Companions for Independence were a resource favorite, matching up these animals with our veterans. Dozens of other veteran and non-profit resources were available.

Attendees again enjoyed the traditional BBQ lunch of hot dog, hamburgers, and hot wings prepared again by Wild Wade’s BBQ & Grill of Citrus Heights. Members of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 637, GFWC Citrus Heights Women’s Club and the Lion’s club provide hundreds of cookies and beverages.

Our day was a big success and we look forward to another great event next year!

Contact: Paul Reyes, Commander American Legion Post 637; 916-743-2008


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Annual Vet’s Picnic Slated for August 27

By Elise Spleiss  |  2016-08-04

The 7th Annual Veteran’s Appreciation and Resource Picnic will be held Saturday, August 27, at Rusch Park, 7801 Auburn Blvd. at the Gazebo/Pavilion from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Citrus Heights American Legion Post 637 is hosting the 7th annual Veteran’s Appreciation and Resource Picnic to honor the area’s active duty servicemen and servicewomen, our retired veterans of past wars and conflicts, and their families.

This free event will be held Saturday, August 27, at Rusch Park, 7801 Auburn Blvd. at the Gazebo/Pavilion from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  All veterans and their families and friends are welcome.

The day will begin with the award winning Bella Vista High School Marching Band, the Folsom Marine Corps Honor Guard, and recognition of our veterans from members of city council and local veteran’s groups.

Guest of honor this year is Alejandro Jauregui of Williams, CA.  Jauregui served two tours of duty in Iran and was on his second tour in Afghanistan in 2012 when he stepped on an IED, resulting in the loss of both legs.

A traditional “Missing Man Table” memorial is being created to honor those fallen soldiers who cannot be present.

Be sure to look for the horses and canines, a favorite of adults and children alike. Horses Healing Heroes and 4 Paws 2 Freedom will be present, sharing how their programs help our veterans, along with dozens of other veteran and non-profit resources.

Scheduled children’s activities include a bounce house, face painting and crafts.

Lunch will be a hot dog and hamburger barbeque with all the fixings prepared again by Wild Wade’s BBQ & Grill of Citrus Heights. Members of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 637, GFWC Citrus Heights Women’s Club and the Lion’s club will provide dessert and drinks.

Covered, accessible picnic tables are available or bring your own chairs, blankets and umbrellas.

Our sponsors and members of the community are donating gift baskets and other opportunity drawing prizes to show their appreciation to our veterans.


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World War II Veteran and Long Time Hero Passes

Source: Marks family with Price Funeral Chapel  |  2016-06-14

Morgan Wade Janes (left) of Wild Wade’s BBQ and World War II veteran and American Legion member George Marks (center), with honored picnic guest and original Tuskegee Airman Judge Albert (right) at the fifth Citrus Heights Annual Veteran’s Appreciation Picnic on August 23, 2014. 
--Photo by Elis Spleiss

George David Marks, Sr. died peacefully in Orangevale, CA on May 24 at age 94 years. He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Sharon Marks, and cherished children G. David Marks, Jr. and Roxana Rhodes. Beloved “Pappy” of grandchildren Sarika and Nandan, he is also survived by his younger sister Mildred Lombardo of North Carolina.

George was born in New Castle, PA on August 22, 1921, the seventh of twelve children.

Following Pearl Harbor, George was drafted by the Army. He had used his self-taught knowledge of Morse code to get accepted as a radio operator intercepting and interpreting German transmissions for G2 Intelligence in the 117th Signal Intelligence Company. He served in the Army for 32 months, in five campaigns, followed by 25 years in civil service at McLellan Air Force Base. He had taught himself French, Italian and German during the war, and following the war became fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL).

After the war had ended, George rediscovered his love of folk dancing. It was during this activity that he met Sharon. He often joked that he moved to California so he “wouldn’t have to marry a cousin.” They started dating and married in March 1950. He later found work at McClellan Air Force Base, retiring in 1985. He also served 19 years as an ASL interpreter working with sheet metal workers at McLellan.

George was a dedicated husband and father to his two children. Camping and swimming were popular family activities. A constant presence at antique car swap meets; he was also a charter member of the Root Cellar, Sacramento Genealogical Society. George’s “computer” memory allowed him to memorize thousands of names, dates, and relations, which consistently amazed those he met. He also loved getting to know people, their names, and guessing where their accent came from, and happily greeting them in over half a dozen languages. In recent years, he joined the American Legion Post #637 of Citrus Heights.

George and several of his fellow WWII veterans had also become regulars at the annual Citrus Heights Veterans Appreciation Picnic since 2012 where he would often sport his Army dress uniform, dance with the ladies and tell his much-loved stories.

Donations made in memory of George Marks can be sent to the Citrus Heights American Legion Post 637, P. O. Box 1 Citrus Heights, CA 95611.

This modified obituary appeared in the Sacramento Bee Newspaper Obituary Saturday May 28, 2016

, Sr. died peacefully in Orangevale, CA on May 24 at age 94 years. He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Sharon Marks, and cherished children G. David Marks, Jr. and Roxana Rhodes. Beloved “Pappy” of grandchildren Sarika and Nandan, he is also survived by his younger sister Mildred Lombardo of North Carolina.

George was born in New Castle, PA on August 22, 1921, the seventh of twelve children.

Following Pearl Harbor, George was drafted by the Army. He had used his self-taught knowledge of Morse code to get accepted as a radio operator intercepting and interpreting German transmissions for G2 Intelligence in the 117th Signal Intelligence Company. He served in the Army for 32 months, in five campaigns, followed by 25 years in civil service at McLellan Air Force Base. He had taught himself French, Italian and German during the war, and following the war became fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL).

After the war had ended, George rediscovered his love of folk dancing. It was during this activity that he met Sharon. He often joked that he moved to California so he “wouldn’t have to marry a cousin.” They started dating and married in March 1950. He later found work at McClellan Air Force Base, retiring in 1985. He also served 19 years as an ASL interpreter working with sheet metal workers at McLellan.

George was a dedicated husband and father to his two children. Camping and swimming were popular family activities. A constant presence at antique car swap meets; he was also a charter member of the Root Cellar, Sacramento Genealogical Society. George’s “computer” memory allowed him to memorize thousands of names, dates, and relations, which consistently amazed those he met. He also loved getting to know people, their names, and guessing where their accent came from, and happily greeting them in over half a dozen languages. In recent years, he joined the American Legion Post #637 of Citrus Heights.

George and several of his fellow WWII veterans had also become regulars at the annual Citrus Heights Veterans Appreciation Picnic since 2012 where he would often sport his Army dress uniform, dance with the ladies and tell his much-loved stories.

Donations made in memory of George Marks can be sent to the Citrus Heights American Legion Post 637, P. O. Box 1 Citrus Heights, CA 95611.

This modified obituary appeared in the Sacramento Bee Newspaper Obituary Saturday May 28, 2016


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A Day of Respite

By Elise Spleiss - Photos Courtesy of The City of Citrus Heights  |  2016-05-31

Dr. Melissa Noakes (left) shown here with technician Amanda Yarrington from the Citrus Heights Mercy Pet Hospital provided vaccines, booster shots, micro chipping and other pet supplies to help homeless veterans keep their best fur friends healthy.

Local Homeless Veterans Get a Day of Respite at Citrus Heights Stand Down

The Citrus Heights Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) in cooperation with American Legion Post 637 recently collaborated with the City of Citrus Heights and the surrounding community to hold the first annual Citrus Heights Veterans Stand Down at Holy Family Catholic Church on Auburn Blvd.

According to the Sacramento Stand Down Association, “Stand Down refers to a grassroots, community-based intervention program designed to help the nation’s thousands of homeless veterans on any given night to “combat” life on the streets.”

At the Citrus Heights event HART provided wrap-around services to 67 in-need veterans including housing, employment, medical, legal, clothing and food for people who have served their country. A highlight of the day was the delicious breakfast and lunch prepared and served to their guests and event volunteers by the chefs and staff of the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln.  General Manager, Dawn Clayton said she “feels blessed to give back to the local community and to the veterans who have served their country.”

The U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) states that the nation’s homeless suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse or co-occurring disorders. Many of them are homeless, having served in one or more wars or conflicts from World War II to the present, including the military’s anti-cultivation efforts in South America.

Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era. Two-thirds served our country for at least three years, and one-third were stationed in a war zone.

The Citrus Heights Stand Down assisted homeless and struggling veterans along with their canine companions to get the services and help they need.  Animal care services were provided by the City of Citrus Heights Animal Control Service Officer Rueben Hernandez who partnered with Mercy Pet Hospital to provide vaccines, booster shots, micro chipping and other pet supplies.

Especially popular was the hygiene van provided by ‘The Way’ Riderz Motorcycle Ministry, where veterans were able to receive a shower and a haircut.  Volunteers handed out clothing including jeans, beanies, gloves, socks and jackets.  Veterans also received military grade sleeping bags and duffle bags.

Some of the twenty-eight service providers anxious to serve this day include the Salvation Army, Sacramento Food Bank, Northern California VA Healthcare System, the Social Security Administration, Sacramento County Veteran’s Service Office, Blue Star Moms of Northern California, Sacramento Veteran’s Center, Loaves and Fishes and more.

This public/private sector partnership was supported by Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Sacramento Self Help Housing, City of Citrus Heights, Citrus Heights Police, Holy Family Catholic Church, the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Sunrise Marketplace and several others.

Knowing that many Stand Downs cover two days or more, Duane Wright, Respite Program Manager for TLCS was especially impressed by all the providers who came out to help the veterans for just one day.

Of special note, 131 volunteers from the Citrus Heights community came out in force, particularly from the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.      

One event volunteer, Mrs. Martha Roth approached the Sacramento Self Help Housing table at the Stand Down to thank the organization and tell about her success. Mrs. Roth came back this year as a volunteer to show her support and gratitude. The following is her success story: “Thirteen years ago my husband, a Vietnam Veteran, and I were homeless. We felt hopeless and didn’t know where to turn. Another veteran we knew suggested we attend a Stand Down in Sacramento. At the Stand Down we were able to get help obtaining housing at a rent we could afford. If it had not been for this, I’m not sure where we would be today.”

For general information on Citrus Heights HART contact Kathilynn Carpenter at kathilynncarpenter@sunrisemarketplace.com or 916-769-5615.


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IRS Marks National Military Appreciation Month

Source: IRS  |  2016-05-26

May is National Military Appreciation Month, and the Internal Revenue Service wants members of the military and their families to know about the many tax benefits available to them.

Each year, the IRS publishes Publication 3, Armed Forces Tax Guide, a free booklet packed with valuable information and tips designed to help service members and their families take advantage of all tax benefits allowed by law. This year’s edition is posted on www.IRS.gov.

Available tax benefits include:

  • Combat pay is partly or fully tax-free.

  • Reservists whose reserve-related duties take them more than 100 miles from home can deduct their unreimbursed travel expenses on Form 2106 or Form 2106-EZ, even if they don’t itemize their deductions.

  • Eligible unreimbursed moving expenses are deductible on Form 3903.

  • Low-and moderate-income service members often qualify for such family-friendly tax benefits as the Earned Income Tax Credit, and a special computation method is available for those who receive combat pay.

  • Low-and moderate-income service members who contribute to an IRA or 401(k)-type retirement plan, such as the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan, can often claim the saver’s credit, also known as the retirement savings contributions credit, on Form 8880.

  • Service members stationed abroad have extra time, until June 15, to file a federal income tax return. Those serving in a combat zone have even longer, typically until 180 days after they leave the combat zone.

  • Service members may qualify to delay payment of income tax due before or during their period of service. See Publication 3 for details including how to request relief.

Service members who prepare their own return qualify to electronically file their federal return for free using IRS Free File. In addition, the IRS partners with the military through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to provide free tax preparation to service members and their families at bases in the United States and around the world.


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