IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — South Bay residents showed appreciation for veterans in their community with a slew of Veterans Day events on Saturday.
Among the events that took place over the weekend was Imperial Beach’s annual military appreciation event at Dunes Park.
Several local veterans organizations teamed up with the Imperial Beach Chamber of Commerce to host the celebration, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Fleet Reserve.
The celebration kicked off with speakers, such as San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Nora Vargas.
During her speech, Vargas spoke about the county’s Leave No Veteran Behind program, which launched in July. The program seeks to give permanent housing and wrap-around services to hundreds of veterans in the county who are experiencing homelessness.
Since the initiative’s launch, Vargas said the county has been able to house 201 veterans across the region.
Imperial Beach Mayor Paloma Aguirre also spoke during the appreciation event, talking about how she plans to introduce an ordinance to create a Veterans and Military Affairs committee.
After hearing from speakers, people enjoyed food, music and beer. Veterans told FOX 5 that they enjoyed the comradery at the event, but also the work that is being done to help veterans and military members.
“Whether you are Army, Navy, or Marine that you work together as a team. For all one focus goal to just take care of each other,” said Kenneth Gregory, a veteran that served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years.
“It’s one of the times of the year that we get to grab everybody down here at this beautiful beach and have them come down here and enjoy each other’s company,” said Martin Mattes, retired Command Master Chief and the president of the Imperial Beach Chamber of Commerce. “Share the sea stories, share the war stories, just being able to bond with one another.”