Veterans Appreciation Lunch Features Heroes, Choirs

Veterans Appreciation Lunch Features Heroes, Choirs

The Temecula Valley Master Chorale was joined by the Colony Chorus and the Canyon Lake Choralees to present patriotic selections at the Field of Honor Veterans Luncheon, Monday, Nov. 6.

The Murrieta Field of Honor’s annual Veterans Appreciation Luncheon recognized four heroes and included patriotic entertainment from the combined choirs of the Canyon Lake Caroleers, the Colony Chorus and the Temecula Valley Master Chorale.

Hundreds of military veterans, their friends and family dined among the 2,023 flags at the Field of Honor in Town Square Park on Monday, November 6.  The luncheon which is free to all veterans is hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Murrieta and Temecula Valley New Generation.

Rob Haskins, president of the Rotary Club of Murrieta and a member of the Temecula Valley Master Chorale, said bringing together the three choruses reflected the community-wide impact that the annual Field of Honor has.  In addition to the veterans, Murrieta City officials and members of at least five Rotary clubs were in attendance.

The patriotic music selections included the Star-Spangled Banner, the Battle Hymn for Gettysburg with narration by Colony resident Sam Hitchcock and the Salute to the Armed Forces (also known as the Procession of the Patriots).

The Murrieta service club sought Hero nominations from friends and family for special recognition.  This year’s honorees included:

William “Bill” Becker

Becker joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1944 and shortly after learning to fly at age 18, he was assigned duties to aid the French Resistance by dropping supplies over German-occupied areas in France, Norway, Belgium and Italy.  The clandestine missions were called Operation Carpetbagger by the U.S. office of Strategic Service (today’s Central Intelligence Agency).  Information about the operation was declassified in the 1980s.  A resident of Hemet, Bill has remained active as reunion director for the carpetbaggers group.  He was the first American airman to receive the Norwegian Defense Medal and has received France’s highest decoration, the Legion of Honor, and the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal.

Dennine Harrison

An Air Force veteran and military spouse, Dennine Harrison is a Murrieta Valley Unified School District teacher and military liaison.  As chair of MVUSD’s Military Advisory Committee, she works with local military installations to ensure the 4,000+ military families are properly supported in their unique needs.  Harrison served in the U.S. Air Force from 1997-2003, serving as a member of the 730th Airlift Squadron at March Air Reserve Base.  She managed all administrative support functions for the squadron’s worldwide airlift mission.  Following her time in the Air Force, she earned her master’s degree and teaching credentials while raising four children.  She joined MVUSD in 2013 and is currently working with students who have orthopedic impairments.

Memorial Honor Detail

This all-volunteer group includes some 300 military veterans who have chosen to continue their service by providing a final tribute to fellow veterans at their final resting place at Riverside National Cemetery, the biggest of the national cemeteries.  The Memorial Honor Detail began in the mid-1990s with military base closures and downsizing.  A small group of veterans took action and formed the Memorial Honor Detail.  From just three teams and two dispatchers, the non-profit organization has grown to over 300 volunteers and a 15-member Board of Directors.  All branches of the U.S. military are represented in the Detail’s members.

Ryan Price

Ryan Price joined the U.S. Army in 2004 after graduating from Perris High School.  A gunner on a Humvee, Ryan was serving with the 101st Division in the Khost Providence of southeast Afghanistan near the Pakistan border when they were hit by a roadside bomb.  It caused him to lose both of his legs and resulted in nerve damage to his right arm.  Before going to Afghanistan in 2008, Price served with the Fourth Infantry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas, and had done a tour in Iraq.  A Hemet resident, he is the father of three young children.