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Honoring and helping our vets this Veterans Day

Santa Barbara Marine Corps.
Kacey Drescher/KEYT Photo

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to those who have served in the United States Armed Forces and there’s a number of events this weekend to honor and help our veterans.

They say “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” and it’s a phrase that resonates with Jack Bellevue. 

“You always remember. It’s built into you that you’re a Marine and what you’re supposed to do,” said Bellevue, Commandant of Marine Corps League 024.

Serving during the Korean War from 1952 to 1954, Bellevue says South Korea was “tough.”

“There were 120 of us, 20 of us were sent to school. 100 went front lines in Korea and I’m guessing half of them died,” said Bellevue. 

Bellevue says on Veterans Day, he’s reminded of the many veterans he knows that need help.

“We need to get more young veterans involved so they know what benefits they have,” said Bellevue. 

The Commandant of the Santa Barbara County Marine Corps League hopes to foster that outreach at the 244th Birthday Celebration of the United States Marine Corps. Bellevue says the Marines have been around for a long time and they’ve done a lot of good. 

“Most veterans when they get out of the service, have no idea what benefits they have coming. For instance, in my own case, I had a hearing problem. When I went to the Veterans Administration, they supplied me with a hearing aid and it’s fantastic,” Bellevue adds. 

Bellevue and his colleagues can guide veterans to all the resources available this Sunday from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. at Moby Dick’s Restaurant on the Wharf. 

You can also salute our vets and say thank you as the Santa Barbara Veterans Parade rolls down State Street Saturday at noon. 

“I think we take our freedoms for granted and Veterans Day is a great day to remember those who have served our country. I really think and Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation believes that veterans should be celebrated every day,” said Chris Davis, a Spokesman for the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation. The group is sponsoring this year’s patriotic parade.  

Be sure to watch for the Condor Squadron Flyover of vintage planes at 1:30 p.m., remembering vets like Bellevue as you look to the skies.

Davis says the best vantage point will be at the Carriage Museum where the community will gather for an afternoon BBQ after the parade.

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Kacey Drescher

Kacey Drescher is a reporter/anchor at KEYT|KCOY|KKFX.