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Jose Quintero, Desert Dispatch
Congressman Paul Cook was one of the guest speakers at the 17th annual Veterans Day celebration on Monday at the Veterans Home of California-Barstow and the American Veterans Post 311.

Cook and Ramos speak at annual celebration


BARSTOW • Rep. Paul Cook and 3rd District Supervisor James Ramos were among the estimated 100 in attendance at the 17th annual Veterans Day Celebration hosted by the Veterans Home of California-Barstow and the American Veterans Post 311 on Monday afternoon.

“This is a very special day that we can never forget,” said Cook, R-Yucca Valley, a retired Marine Corps officer. “It was special to spend the day with the veterans, their families and all the military presence that was on hand. We’re in serious trouble as a nation when we stop events like this or we kind of forget about them.”

Barb Stanton kicked off the event with introductions and sang the national anthem. Most of the attendees stood and clapped in unison during a rendition of “God Bless the USA” by Charlie Ross and David Doolittle, both of whom are residents of the veterans home.

Congressional Gold Medal recipient Robert Izumi, former prisoner of war David Villafana and Gold Star mother Ramona Griego were specially recognized during the ceremony.

Raymond Lau, director of the veterans home, said the turnout for the event was “fantastic.”

Lau was thrilled to see Ramos, Cook, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow Col. Michael Scalise and Fort Irwin Garrison Commander Col. Jon Braga all in attendance.

“This was my first Veterans Day event here and I was blown away,” Braga said. “For me, it’s always inspiring to see veterans from previous wars; that swells my heart up. I’m around soldiers every day and that’s enlightening itself, but when you see people so connected to the military many years after their service, it highlights the brotherhood that is shared by all those in a uniform.”

For Cook, who represents the 8th Congressional District including Barstow, it was special to see the relationships between the city of Barstow, MCLB, Barstow Community College and Fort Irwin.

“I love the community out here — take a look around this room and you see what it is all about,” Cook said. “I think this says a lot about the area. Small communities need to pull their resources and get together. The fact that all these parties do that, it shows great community spirit.”

Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or

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