Rotary Club of Murrieta Presents Four Heroes

Field of Honor Heroes (from left) Arthur Allen III, Joe Hoffman and Ron Fonstad of The WAVES Project, Councilman Rick Gibbs and Alvin David Porges

Rotary Club of Murrieta Presents Four Heroes


Monday, Nov. 12: The Murrieta Rotary Club’s annual Veterans Lunch, held adjacent to the Field of Honor today, included the presentation of four Hero Awards. Hero Awards have been presented for the past four years, going to those who are examples of “Service Above Self.”

The 2018 Field of Honor Heroes include:

Richard H (Rick) Gibbs (Colonel, U.S. Air Force ret.) – While most in Southwest Riverside County know him as Councilman Rick Gibbs, Colonel Gibbs had a distinguished career spanning 32 years in the United States military. He is a Viet Nam veteran who flew fighter aircraft in that theatre, and he also held important assignments in the Pentagon working on the acquisition of billion dollar weapons systems. A graduate of Fordham University, he entered the Air Force in 1969 as a Distinguished Graduate of the USAF Officer Training School. He earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Northern Colorado, and he also graduated from Squadron Officers School, Air Command and Staff College and was an Outstanding Graduate of the Air War College.

Upon his retirement from the military, Colonel Gibbs was awarded the Legion of Merit, which is given for exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.

Rick Gibbs and his late wife moved to Murrieta in 1999 where he soon became involved in community activities. He was elected to the Murrieta City Council in 2005, and has served on the council as a member and as mayor since then. In this position, he has served on many assignments both in the City and on local and regional bodies. He will retire from the Council this December.

Arthur “ Artie” Allen III – Master Gunnery Sergeant Allen served in the US Marine Corps for over 30 years and is a three-war veteran, having served in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He also served a tour as a Drill Instructor and Senior Drill Instructor with the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. During his years in military service, Sgt. Allen received the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation and Achievement Medals and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

Sgt. Allen has not stopped volunteering since his retirement. It is his “passion.” A resident of Menifee, he volunteers at events for the city’s Department of Community Services, and for Inland Valley Habitat for Humanity, working on home improvement and landscaping projects. His lists of achievements for his outstanding volunteer activities are long, and were part of the consideration of his being named one of four in California Senator Jeff Stone’s 2018 Veterans Service Award.

He is an active member of Temecula Valley VFW Post 4089, a volunteer docent for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Museum Foundation, and an at-large member of the Veteran’s Advisory Committee Riverside County.

The WAVES Project — Dedicated to providing an opportunity for American veterans with service connected disabilities and their families to experience scuba diving. Each veteran and a dive companion of their choice experiences the freedom of scuba diving for free as they are taken through open water certification. The WAVES Project was started in 2012 by Steve Rubin and his wife, Barbara and became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2013. The founders’ desire was to create a community of divers who are both veterans and non-veterans who will provide friendship and support to each other and help heal body, mind and spirit.

Since its founding, WAVES has certified close to 300 veterans and their dive buddies. From classroom to open water dives, they experience the many benefits to scuba, regardless of their injury. WAVES graduates are now working with the National Park Service and other projects.

Alvin David Porges – US Navy Seaman 3rd class, Alvin Porges served during the final years of World War II throughout the Pacific Ocean aboard the USS Kane. The ship, which had been commissioned in 1920, carried landing vehicles and attack personal (frogmen) to invade beaches in the South Pacific, including the Philippines. It also served as an escort ship and was the target of kamikaze attacks. The 140-man crew spent nine months at sea, with no home port, during Porges service. It frequently had a double load with additional invasion troops.

Porges, who signed on with the Navy as a signal man, stayed with the USS Kane until it was decommissioned in Philadelphia in 1946. He completed his Navy service on the USS Astoria, a light cruiser commissioned in 1944 and carrying an admiral, out of Long Beach.

A graduate of Garfield High School in Los Angeles, he recalls that his school became a defense plant during his years there. Students would work four hours in the plant and attend school classes the other four hours. He later became an electrician (one of five generations of electricians in his family) and retired as an electrical contractor after 67 years.

The Murrieta Field of Honor is celebrating its 10th year. Staged in Murrieta’s Town Square Park, it is presented by the Rotary Club of Murrieta, in partnership with the City of Murrieta. More than 2,018 flags are flown in honor of heroes during Veterans Day week.