The Walnut City Council Wednesday night saluted members of the California State Military Reserve, including the city’s own Mayor Pro Tem Tom King.
Several members of B Company, 1st Battalion, attended the ceremony at City Hall. The reservists are volunteers who drill out of the Azusa Armory and support and train National Guard soldiers from Walnut and other surrounding communities who are deploying overseas to Afghanistan.
U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, presented the members of the reserve with certificates, as did Jody Roberto, a representative from the office of state Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar.
Royce lauded the company members for their sacrifice and commitment.
“We are deeply appreciative of what they have done,” he said. “We the United States Congress also offer our heartfelt appreciation for this company’s outstanding service to the United States. The volunteer hours that have been utilized here, that have been sacrificed by each of you in order to prepare the National Guard for overseas deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom, is above and beyond the call of duty.”
Mayor Mary Su also praised the volunteers’ dedication and willingness to put their country before self.
“People like you make our nation strong, make our community fearless ,” she said.
Mayor Pro Tem Tom King, a member of the company, said that less than one percent of people in the United States serve in the volunteer military.
“What makes these people particularly special is these are volunteers who do it for nothing. These are former soldiers and ordinary citizens who volunteer their weekends."
The members of the reserve, who have donated tens of thousands of hours of time, teach soldiers how to fire weapons before they get to combat, as well as how to drive heavy vehicles. They also volunteer at community events such as the Walnut Family Festival, King said.
Lt. Dan Derkum thanked the company’s spouses, families, and employers for making it possible for the State Military Reserve members to volunteer so much time.
He said people often ask him why the reserve does what it does.
“We train with these people. We’re out in the field with the National Guard. They become members of our families and we become members of their families,” he said. “And when they come back and their family and children are out in the audience and we’re there too, I can’t tell you the feeling when they get off of the bus or the airplane and they shake your hand and hug you, sometimes with tears in their eyes, and they say ‘Thanks. I am here because of you.’ That’s why we do it.”