Breaking from their first annual Veteran’s Day barbecue lunch celebration, residents at Silvergate Rancho Bernardo, the area’s newest luxury senior living community, watched as the photos of 27 military veterans were unveiled on the community’s new Veterans Wall of Honor on Tuesday, November 11, 2020.
“This beautiful and moving tribute to Veterans of Silvergate highlights those who served in all branches of the United States military as well as in foreign services,” said Trixie Prince, Activity Director for the community. “On Veterans Day, we wanted to remember the shiny young faces of ‘kids’ who went off to war and then recognize the handsome, serious officers that they became.”
The senior living community’s unveiling ceremony included welcoming words from Derrik Staple, the Veterans Program Coordinator from Mission Home Health who guided the community’s construction of their Wall of Honor. Certificates of commendation were presented to each veteran along with a commendation pin. Silvergate Rancho Bernardo owner, David Petree, who served as a Lieutenant in the Naval Reserves during the Vietnam war, was also in attendance to accept an honorary commendation. The ceremony featured a lively post-war era musical entertainment from vocalist and four-piece band, Janet Hammer & The Boys In The Band.
“The complexion of the population has changed greatly in terms of how many civilians know any Veterans,” said Ron Pickett, a Silvergate resident who served as a Captain in the Navy during the Vietnam war. “They think we’re all either heroes or homeless and that’s just not true of most of us. Most of us are normal people that you couldn’t pick out of a crowd except we may stand a little straighter than others.”
Pickett, who believes his goal is to help others understand our veterans and what they experienced during their time in the military, leads a veterans Writing Group which is open to Silvergate residents. The group gives seniors who have served in the military an opportunity to share their stories of service and provide context to the public’s understanding of what takes place for soldiers during wartime.
Along with face masks and an awareness of remaining socially distanced, participants at the ceremony donned a Veterans of Foreign Wars “Buddy Poppy,” a single silk flower pinned to their lapel, as a designated symbol of all those who have given their lives in our nation’s wars. The local VFW provided the Silvergate community with the Buddy Poppies for use at the ceremony.
“It was such a nice ceremony honoring our servicemen and women on Veterans Day,” said Richard Winch, whose time in the military lead him to serve as an Army, Specialist E-5 and who now resides at Silvergate. “The music was wonderful, and the unveiling was certainly to my surprise. I didn’t think it would be anywhere near that beautiful. It was very well done. You have everybody’s picture on that wall which I appreciate it, and I’m sure that the other veterans here also appreciate it.”
Silvergate Rancho Bernardo, an 11-acre senior living community, currently has more than 30 veterans living on campus. The community offers a continuum of retirement living including independent living, assisted living and memory care. As a fully licensed community, Silvergate provides residents with an ability to age-in-place rather than have to relocate when changing medical needs arise. For a personal tour of the community, seniors and families can call Pam Rundle or Noel Fairbairn at (858) 451-1100.