Today marks one year since the non-profit Welcome Home Military Heroes began honoring veterans on Central Coast.
The Arroyo Grande-based organization started the tradition in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We realized the Central Coast and the community needed this and they needed to get out and honor our military heroes during this time," said Robert Tolan Jr., co-founder and vice president of Welcome Home Military Heroes. "They needed something positive in their life.“
In the last year, the organization has honored 156 veterans from Cambria to Santa Barbara with vehicle salutes. The veterans range in age from as young as 20 to as old as 107.
Welcome Home Military Heroes reaches out to law enforcement, first responders, and other non-profits to participate in honoring veterans.
"All of the sudden they’re coming out and showing that the community supports them," Tolan Jr. said. "Those motorcycles when they come up or just intimidating and they just absolutely love it.“
Tolan Jr.'s father is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and was honored in the first salute last April.
“It’s amazing," Robert Tolan Sr. said. "It really is. It’s a great thing and I very much appreciate it.“
They stage the salutes at Arroyo Grande High School on weekends.
"It’s worth it at the end of the day to honor our local military heroes," Tolan Jr. said.