City pays tribute to Hometown Heroes

LANCASTER – John E. Allen; Ryan Clark; George Delgado; Chris D. Leon; Joseph Lopez; Matthew Ramsey, Marvin R. Sprayberry III; Ian Wesley Stewart; and Allan Walker.

Having made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, these nine men are memorialized on banners along the length of The Blvd.

A crowd of about 200 gathered at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center Tuesday to pay tribute to the nine fallen heroes, as well as dozens of other soldiers wounded in combat whose images are part of the city’s “Hometown Heroes” banner program.

Jerral Hancock.

“The reason for our gathering here today is to pay tribute to the life behind the banner,” said City Manager Mark Bozigian. “Whether it was in Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan… these young soldiers and marines exercised the full measure of service to their country.”

As the tribute ceremony began, images of the nine fallen heroes were lowered from the rafters of the stage to surround an American flag. The presentation of the colors by the Blue Eagles Honor Guard from Edwards AFB was followed by remarks from Bozigian and from AV Press Editor Dennis Anderson.

Anderson, a Cold War army veteran and the father of a marine, said war takes its toll on the combatants as well as their families.

Jennifer Housholder wrote a song especially for wounded and disabled veterans.

“The toll is on the people who love them… the toll is mental, the toll is physical and the toll is spiritual,” Anderson said.

He also introduced Iraq war veteran Jerral Hancock, who was wounded on Memorial Day 2007 (his 21st birthday) and is now paralyzed. Hancock did not speak at the ceremony, but received a standing ovation from the audience.

The ceremony also featured a touching video presentation that highlighted the lives of the nine fallen servicemen through interviews with their families (see above). Featured veterans in the video include:

  • SSgt Allan K. Walker, USMC
  • SSG Marvin R. Sprayberry III, US Army
  • Cpl Ian Wesley Stewart, USMC
  • Cpl Christopher D. Leon, USMC
  • Cpl Ryan Clark, US Army
  • Sgt John E. Allen, US Army
  • PFC George Delgado, US Army
  • LCpl Joseph Lopez, USMC
  • SPC Matthew Ramsey, US Army

“Let us everyday keep in prayers those that are out there still risking their lives in harms way so that we can enjoy freedoms and never forget those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” said Vice Mayor Ron Smith.

The event concluded with a song by local recording artist and Chief Warrant Officer Jennifer Housholder. Housholder served two tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom where she piloted a Black Hawk helicopter.  She sang “The Mission Continues,” a song she wrote from the perspective of wounded and disabled veterans.


The event was held in conjunction with the city’s “Hometown Heroes” banner program. There are 52 banners dotting the length of The BLVD; each bearing a full-color photo along with the name, rank, and branch of service of the military member. The nine fallen heroes are identified with a black stripe across their left arm.

  2 comments for “City pays tribute to Hometown Heroes

  1. Abdul Majeed Askia
    March 15, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Again,I have to show honor and respect for anyone who will stand up and
    defend our rights in this country. Soldiers go off everyday on the path
    of danger leaving behind them family,friends,property and leisure ! I
    can respect that, and will not speak foul in anyway of their service.As
    stated eailier soldiers don’t choose their battles. They are taught to
    obey their superiors,follow orders. That being the case we as citizens
    should be very careful and very selective whom we place in office !

    In all of our positions of service Law enforcement,F.B.I.,C.I.A and other
    agencies the emblem says to protect and serve. To protect and serve whom ?
    Law enforcement is suppose to protect and serve the general public
    under the constitution of the United States! They are called upon to
    defend this country from domestic and foreign enimies under the dictates
    of the consitution as administered by the commander and chief and the
    three branches of government that serves as checkes and balances to our
    system of rule.Therefore, it would be wise for us all to know our constitution and serve as vigilant citizens putting people in office that
    understand our rights as citizens as opposed to creating an enviornment
    of ‘Us’ against ‘Them!’ and ‘Them’ against ‘Us!’.

    When we look around the world we see horrible scenes of governments slaughtering their own people.Denying them the rights to vote,to
    peacefully assemble,to question the leadership and/or to challenge
    various policies. The leaders of these governments took on the attitude
    that is about individual rule and not collective or democrative rule!
    Dictators feel as though the country belongs to a clan,a family or
    an indiviual as opposed to the people! We elect our leaders to up hold
    the constitution and to serve us! As Jesus would say,” I came into
    the world to serve and not be served!”.Some leaders get it twisted and
    begin to feel as though its all about them or ‘Me’!The people become
    subservant to their masters. When leaders begin to feel that they are
    un-approachable, above board or so good how dare you question their
    leadership ! A man once called Jesus good, and Jesus reply was ” Why
    callest me good ? No one is good but my father which is in heaven! We
    don’t elect angels into office we elect men and women !The muslim holy
    book says if the earth was populated with angels God would have sent us
    an angel! But he sent us a prophet in the form of a man !You don’t get
    so good that you forget your earthly status or position! The only
    one we can’t vote out of office is the supreme Justice,beyond that all
    other offices are temporary! Unless of course your are Saudi Arabia or
    under some other form of dictatorship,Royal families,auto-cratic
    or theocractic leadership! Under theocartic leadership many maintain
    their positions simply by saying “God told me so!”This phrase supposedly
    wipes out all conversation ! How dare you question God!This is how men
    become God besides God! Meaning they sit on the throne as God!!! In
    our system we believe in God but we elect human beings to represent us!

    Our society is multi cultural,muti religious and multi racial/ethnic.
    We are a people from all over the world !We the people !As a national
    public speaker, I encourage each and every individual to exercise your
    rights, participate, become alive to your life,come alive with growth
    and activity. I extend myself to speak at your temple,synagogue,chruch,
    mosque,conference or seminar crossing racial and color lines.
    Americans sums it up but we come from many backgrounds and we have
    many shades.

  2. Abdul Majeed Askia
    March 14, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I agree soldiers should be honored> I agree soldiers don’t get to choose
    their battles. I agree we live in the best country in the world.I agree
    we should defend and protect our system of rule and government. However,
    initially we went to war because of 911. That was understandable,even though we attacked the wrong country and strangely we are still fighting
    for God knows what !Again soldiers should be honored and not blamed for
    the wars we end up involved in ! Thats true,however,the general public
    should be active citizens and assuring our countrymen that we are not
    involved in unjust wars and causes ! I for one is a bit puzzled how we
    can support regimes that oppress women. We are not talking about personality dislikes we are talking about voting rights and general
    freedom! What is with these Saudi guys thinking they have the right to tell
    a woman she can’t drive a car ! Imagine if this guy won’t let her drive
    a car he is definitely not going let her divorce him or leave the country!
    If you can’t drive a car that also means you can’t leave when you want
    to and you don’t have any say so as to how the country is ran! These
    are the holy people! I am fed up with all these pretension in the name
    of religion and in the name of God ! I know I am a sinner! I know I
    needed to repent and turn from my wayward ways! But I had no idea that
    the religious leaders of Saudi Arabia still believed in slavery and is
    one of the biggest oppressers of women !!!! There is only one God and
    Muhammadis his messenger and I have never read that a woman couldn’t
    ride a camel! Prophet Muhammads wife Khadijah was one of the most
    successful business persons of her time ! How on earth did the clock
    turn backwards! Unfortunately our country supports this because the Saudi
    family is the riches people on earth!!! They always did say money talks!
    They even paid their way out of being implicated in 9ll! Amazing what
    money can do ! I was taught there is a devil on every level!That is,for
    every original minister,preacher,teacher,guide,prophet their is a carbon
    copy!A counterfiet,a phony! I never wanted to be a preacher. I have always
    believed in God. I understand we all fall short but it is a whole nother
    ball game when religion is used to enslave and oppress!It is a crime to
    hold aan entire class or group of people down based on their gender !

    There was a time I was in the royal circle. However,when I strated talking
    about religious oppression,religious gang banging and how race and ethic
    superiority was being practiced in the name of relgion, it became time
    to pull the red carpet from under my feet!I was a good boy as long as
    I didn’t step on royal feet!Wow, am I in trouble!

    I make no claims to holiness,my record will show that at one time in my
    life I fell short ! But forthe life of me I never thought of religion
    as being the tool to deceive humanity!Again, I believe in scripture,prohets,messengers,visionaries,seers and rightly guided people,
    but I am opposed to religious oppression and the denial of womens rights!
    Thank God for a system that recognizes freedom of relgion and freedom
    of speech!I am willing to sacrifice my crumbs at the kings table to
    speak up for human rights!Abdul Majeed Askia palmdale,Ca.emailabdulaskia@yahoo.comphone323-9459589.I have lectured in
    numerous international conferences,schools,colleges,youth facilities,prisons and toured the prison system with the famous and greatest boxer of all times Muhammad Ali!I have lived in Palmdale for twentyfour years. A guest of Dr.Phil,Issues and Answers sponsored by
    editor Larry Groom of the Antelope Valeey Press.I was profiled among
    people who make a difference and also an invited guest of the white house
    in the early nineties. I have lectured in the late eighties on army
    bases,invited to international embacies,college curcuits and schools.
    I was having a ball until I opened my big mouth!its just in my nature
    to live my life. One life life to live. I love people,I life life and
    it doesn’t matter to me what color you are,your religion or where you
    live! I am at peace,inner satifaction with myself and relationship with
    God,thus I can face the tide. I am open to share where-ever I am invited.

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