Santa Clarita Valley to honor veterans next week

Signal SCV | November 06, 2015 – 

Veterans Day isn’t long enough for some people, and this year the celebrations will last for nearly a week as Santa Clarita Valley residents pause to honor those who have fought to maintain America’s freedom.

On Veterans Day itself Wednesday, the Santa Clarita Elks Lodge 2379 and the Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club are scheduled to unveil a new street — named in honor of longtime Santa Clarita Valley resident, businessman and veteran Harry Bell — during a special dedication service at 2 p.m. at Habitat for Humanity, 21550 Center Pointe Parkway in Santa Clarita.

Bell, a former Realtor and engineer who was named SCV Man of the Year for 2011, died in a plane crash just off Highway 126 between Castaic Junction and Fillmore. He was 89.

Bell served in 50 missions during two tours when he was in the Army Air Corps during World War II, said Jim Lentini, chairman of the Harry Bell Memorial Veterans Fund.

“Harry was very much an icon in the Santa Clarita Valley,” Lentini said. “He was pretty much a hero and was very special to people.”

The street, named Harry Bell Place, will be located in the 23-acre parcel being built in Centre Pointe with affordable homes for veterans and their families. More than 80 homes are planned in the area by Habitat for Humanity.

Lentini said the Elks Lodge and the Rotary Club were able to raise $20,000 for the project in honor of Harry Bell.

Vets with PTSD
Elsewhere, volunteers with the Blue Star Ranch, an equine-assisted therapy organization that helps out veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, and a Canyon Country Home Depot will spend most of Wednesday sprucing up the nonprofit ranch located in Saugus.

Home Depot gave Blue Star Ranch a $10,000 shopping spree at the warehouse store to help the ranch with projects and landscape improvement, said Nancy Zhe, president and co-founder of the nonprofit. The ranch, opened in 2014, is hoping the new improvements would allow the organization to serve more Santa Clarita Valley veterans suffering from PSTD, Zhe said.

“We are very grateful for Home Depot and their crew,” she said. “This is going to help us do more for our veterans.”

Santa Clarita
Also on Wednesday, Santa Clarita is scheduled to host a special Veterans Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Historical Plaza, 24275 N. Walnut St. in Newhall.

The event is set to include a reading of the names of those still listed as prisoners of war and missing in action. A U.S. Air Force major is scheduled to speak.

Earlier in the week, Congressman Steve Knight is expected to join 20 veterans at Pacifica Senior Living of Santa Clarita to honor them during a special service at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Newhall. Officials said the veterans, some of whom served in World War II, will be present along with their families.

The senior hospice is located at 24305 W. Lyons Ave.

Knight is also scheduled to host a Veterans Resource Fair 9 a.m.-noon Monday at the Pioneer Event Center in Lancaster.

At Trinity Classical Academy, U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. David Berger is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Monday at the school’s campus, located at 28310 Kelly Johnson Parkway in Valencia.

Meanwhile, the College of the Canyons athletics department is inviting all U.S. veterans, active-duty and reserve military personnel and their families to attend Saturday’s Cougar football game free of charge. Proper identification is required for free admission.

COC will host Moorpark College at the game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cougar Stadium.

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