Earlier this month, the Veterans Memorial Hall was filled with local members of the American Legion and the VFW as well as some special guests for the annual Christmas dinner.  

This is always a much-anticipated event and this year there were more than 100 people in attendance. Doors opened at 6 p.m. for social hour and then dinner was served at 7.

This year’s kitchen staff were Veterans: Tom Higby, Robert Stauch, Alan Cotta, Mike Hughes, Ray McCauley, Billy Winch, Richard Vasquez, Stanley Winch and Linda Higby.

Dinner consisted of a beef rouladen, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, rolls and salad. The meal was absolutely delicious and all their hard work was greatly appreciated. Of course, no meal is complete without a variety of desserts, which were provided by the American Legion Post 166 Auxiliary.

As the evening progressed and after some special recognition and announcements by VFW Commander, Mike Hughes and American Legion Commander, Alan Cotta, it was time for one of the highlights of the evening, the auction and raffle prizes!

Each year, Rochelle Creighton, along with her husband, Steve, and son, Michael, all of which are US Marine Veterans, reach out to the community for donated items for the raffle and auction. This year was no different and there were many wonderful items that were provided.

Many thanks to Merced County Supervisor and local Los Banos resident, Scott Silveira for being the MC for the raffle and the auctioneer. Everyone who knows Scotty, knows what a terrific job he does at this task and his willingness to provide this skill is greatly appreciated.

United States Navy Veteran, Linday Higby had this to share about the Christmas dinner, “I always look forward to the VFW/American Legion Christmas Dinner and to seeing old friends and having great conversations. My table mates were Kat Strauch, Marie and Chet Guintini, Cathy and Gary Caropreso and Corky Sherwood. There were lots of laughs and great conversations and, of course, the food and all the prizes were amazing. I won an adorable snowman that came with a generous gift certificate to M&M’s Restaurant donated by CSEA. Oh, and thank you to (American Legion) Women’s Auxiliary for the beautiful tables and wonderful desserts.”

Lastly, a special “shout-out” to the Los Banos Junior High National Honor Society for their handwritten messages on each individual placemat plus individual candy goodie bag. The messages were heartfelt and genuinely appreciated by the Veterans. The gorgeous table centerpieces were a group effort with Rochelle Creighton supplying the vases, ribbon and bells, Pacheco High School Assistant Principal, Daniel Elizalde, providing the flowers and the FFA students creating the ensemble. All these special touches made the event a huge success!

If you would like more information about joining the VFW Post 2487 or the American Legion Post 166 or the American Legion Auxiliary, please visit the website, at losbanosveterans.org

Patricia McCoy

Patricia McCoy is a US Air Force veteran and the chairperson of the Los Banos Veterans Parade. She can be reached at (209) 587-5033.