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Local heroes honored at the Faces of Freedom Veterans Day Ceremony in Atascadero

Posted at 5:55 PM, Nov 11, 2019

Veterans stood proudly as they were honored across the Central Coast on Monday.

In Atascadero, hundreds of people gathered for the 12th annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Faces of Freedom Memorial.

Veterans were treated to songs performed by the Atascadero Academy of Arts Choir and SLO County Trumpet Alliance.

They also received handmade quilts from Quilts of Valor, a group that sews quilts to comfort and heal veterans.

One of the founders of the Atascadero Veterans Memorial Foundation, LeRoy Dodge, was excited to see his quilt. He said he was more excited and even surprised to be honored with the "Veteran of the Year" award.

"It's unbelievable. I didn't deserve this. The people that built this deserve that honor," said Dodge, a World War II Navy veteran.

Dodge, an Atascadero High School graduate, enlisted early in the Navy during World War II, serving as a Radioman Third Class on a Patrol Craft Escort until the war ended in 1945.

Greg McGill runs Central Coast Honor Flight, an organization dedicated to taking veterans to their respective war memorial sites.

McGill spoke at the ceremony and explained what it meant to be a veteran.

"From boot camp, to deployments around the world, to missing holidays with their families and just the sacrifice they made," McGill said. "They were willing to lay down their lives when the entered into the military, not knowing if we would be going to war or not."

The Atascadero Veterans Memorial Foundation invites not just the community of Atascadero, but the entire county to stop by and give thanks to our Central Coast heroes.

It's a place where people can remember our veterans not just on Veterans Day, but every day.