Military planes painted the sky overhead, the Marine Band San Diego played patriotic tunes, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot presented the colors and a true American hero was honored at the traditional Mount Soledad Veterans Day ceremony Monday, Nov. 11.
Hosted by the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial Association (MSNVM), this year’s ceremony’s special plaque honoree was senior chief petty officer Kenton Stacy and his family. A U.S. Navy volunteer, Kenton chose to be in one of the military’s most dangerous occupational specialties, an explosive ordinance disposal technician. After more than 50 combat missions, Stacy was severely injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in 2017 in Syria.
Kenton has received numerous awards for his distinguished valor, including a Purple Heart, two Bronze Star medals and three Navy Achievement medals. In 2010, he was named USO Sailor of the Year.
Veterans Day on Nov. 11 traces its roots back to World War I, which ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the armistice with Germany went into effect ending the war to end all wars. Originally known as Armistice Day, the U.S. federal holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
Distinct from Memorial Day, a U.S. public holiday in May honoring those who’ve died in military service, Veterans Day honors all who’ve served, living and deceased, in all U.S. armed services.
Stacy’s plaque will join more than 5,200 others enshrined on the walls surrounding the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial at 6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive South. Honorees include U.S. presidents, 12 Medal of Honor recipients, generals and celebrity veterans.
Congress members Scott Peters and Susan Davis presented a proclamation honoring Stacy. Mayor Kevin Faulconer also spoke, noting “the military is in San Diego’s DNA. Today is about coming together as a community to honor these heroes for their lifetime of patriotism and courage serving our nation.”
Of the Mt. Soledad memorial, Faulconer said, “It is a special place for all San Diegans. It’s the only memorial in the United States that honors veterans both living and deceased from the Revolutionary War to the war on terror.”
Of memorial plaques, Faulconer said, “They put a face to the names of our heroes and captures a moment in time for that veteran, reminding us of their great commitment to our country.”
Master of ceremonies Marc Bailey quoted immediate past San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman in noting, “Leadership is a shared responsibility. That’s what you have represented up here on every single one of these plaques, and every one of our veterans who’ve ever served this nation. Each and every one is a leader.”
Sgt. Neil O’Connell, USMC Ret. and president of MSNVM, thanked those assembled for “supporting us in every endeavor.”
“We should especially thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said O’Connell, who added Wi-Fi is now available at the memorial, “for eventually having a virtual tour created here to give stories about each and every veteran. We also have created an endowment so that this memorial will remain funded … to teach our youngsters and our citizens about the sacrifices of our veterans preserving their legacy.”
Keynote speaker was Capt. Oscar Rojas, Commodore Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One.
The ceremony was capped by a performance by the San Diego Salute Formation Team.
Asked what it means to be a vet and the significance of Veterans Day, Brian T. Grana said, "Vets are thanked profusely for our service on Veterans Day. For me, and in reality, I like thanking the citizens who allowed me to serve and wear the cloth of our great nation.
"When thanked, I typically respond with: 'Thank you for paying my salary and being the type of American citizen worth fighting for.' The first part often elicits a chuckle; the second part, a pregnant pause and an 'I will try harder.'"
One day, six races and more than 2,700 participants. Padres Pedal the Cause is a hope-giving, cancer-research-funding event that’s taken place at San Diego’s Petco Park (100 Park Blvd.) every year since 2013. In the last six years, Padres Pedal has raised more than $10 million, with 100% being donated to local research centers like Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla, and children’s hospitals like Rady’s in Serra Mesa, all in an effort to end cancer once and for all.
In total, the event funds 53 local cancer research projects, five of which are clinical trials.
“We’ve had more and more participants join in each year and this year’s event will definitely be one of our biggest,” said Anne Marbarger, executive director of Padres Pedal. “To know that we’re an organization that’s providing hope for these families by funding research that’s actually going towards making sure kids in the future don’t get cancer or at least have better treatment options, that’s super meaningful.”
Padres Pedal hosts races this Saturday, Nov. 16, ranging from 5K running events to 25, 55, 88 and even 100-mile bike rides over the Coronado Bay Bridge and through Coronado’s Silver Strand State Beach. And local doctors, in addition to cancer in-patient families, are also breaking out their bikes to join the cause.
“I have seen cancer take the lives of many individuals over my professional career, including my dad and one of my best friends,” said Paul Dougherty, a La Jolla-based dentist at his own clinic, Dougherty Dental. “So, it was a no-brainer to get involved.”
Dougherty has been an avid bike rider for the last 20 years, beginning with his first mission-focused raced with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training national cycling event in 1999. Dougherty says he got “hooked” on the mission and began focusing his attention on local efforts to fight fatal diseases. When Bill Koman, a cyclist and two-time lymphoma survivor, brought his Pedal the Cause event from St. Louis to San Diego in 2013, Dougherty jumped at the chance to join.
“It has always been a positive experience for me to ride side by side with a team of people all working towards a common goal to fight this disease,” said Dougherty, who rides with Team Beaumont in Padres Pedal’s 100-mile race, The Century. “The money raised at Padres Pedal is really making a difference in the trenches battling cancer, and I’m seeing positive outcomes more today than ever before.”
One of those positive outcomes is Padres Pedal’s focus on empowering kids who want to get outside the hospital and be active, either by participating in the kids bike race “Super Hero Kids Challenge,” or by one of these “SuperKids” being sponsored by a Padres Pedal team. One of the children in the SuperKids program is 4-year-old Savannah Schwartz, a Rady’s brain cancer patient and daughter of Jonathan Schwartz, cycling team captain of the WD-40 bike team in Padres Pedal.
“Padres Pedal has been a big support system for us by changing our perspective about life and about people,” said Schwartz, whose daughter was diagnosed at the age of 2. “You never fully understand what resilience is until you see a child go through something like this. The pain they endure through treatment is astronomical, but my daughter has always done it with a smile and that smile has given us a lot of strength.”
“My team last year supported a 5-year-old boy named Ryker who was being treated at Rady’s,” added Dougherty, who just last spring diagnosed one of his patients with oral cancer. “Seeing him fight the battles of trying to beat his disease was very impactful for each of us as a team and significant in why we need funds to find a cure.”
To register for Padres Pedal the Cause events, visit mygopedal.org. Check-in begins at 4:30 a.m. and events last from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. when the park closes. Lunch and bar services are provided and there’s a finish-line festival with live music at the end of the races.
When the community streets become lined with pumpkins, and ghosts and ghouls start to hang from the trees in your neighbor’s front lawn — you know it’s Halloween time in La Jolla. Whether you’re taking the kids trick-or-treating or celebrating with a night out on the town, we’ve rounded up all the spooky (and not-so-spooky) Halloween events for you and your family to enjoy.
So make friends with the monster under your bed and check out these top Halloween happenings around La Jolla!
La Jolla Riford Library — The library will celebrate Halloween at 10:30 a.m., Oct. 31, at 7555 Draper Ave. In addition to a story time, treats will be given around the library. Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes. The event is free to attend. For more information, visit lajollalibrary.org.
Downtown La Jolla — Pillage the Village, La Jolla’s spooktacular family trick-or-treating event, will be held from 3-6 p.m., Oct. 31, in downtown La Jolla. Dress in your best costume and find participating merchants and businesses by locating the orange and black balloons at their storefronts (a good starting point is Girard and Prospect). The La Jolla Real Estate Brokers Association will be host a costume-judging contest starting about 4:15 p.m. at 908 Kline St. Dog-O-Ween begins at 3 p.m. at Deckers Dog + Cat, 7928 Ivanhoe Ave. For more information, visit lajollabythesea.com.
Westfield UTC — Bring your little goblins and ghouls to Westfield UTC from 5-7 p.m., Oct. 31, at 4545 La Jolla Village Drive. Enjoy a spooky fun night of trick-or-treating with a live DJ, surprise appearances from your favorite characters and more. Participating stores will be marked with a storefront sign. No face masks or painted faces over the age of 12. Costume accessories resembling weapons will not be permitted inside the center. No silly string, blow horns or any form of powdery substance. For more information, visit westfield.com/utc.
Humans vs. Zombies — The Riford Library will host Humans vs. Zombies at 7 p.m., Oct. 25, at 7555 Draper Ave. The game is a capture-the-flag event recommended for teens in sixth through 12th grades. Snacks will be provided. No registration is required. There is no re-entry. For more information, visit lajollalibrary.org.
Haunted Aquarium — The Birch Aquarium’s annual Haunted Aquarium: Sea Monster Bash is back! Held from 6-9 p.m., Oct. 25-27, at 2300 Expedition Way, this event includes close encounters with Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists, unusual underwater creatures, DIY seaweed slime, a costume contest, spooky stories and live music from Billy Lee and the Swamp Critters. Pre-purchased tickets are $20 for aquarium members and $25 for nonmembers. Tickets at the door cost $30. For more information, visit aquarium.ucsd.edu.
Halloween Carnival — All ages are invited to attend the La Jolla Halloween Carnival from 1-4 p.m., Oct. 26, at the La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St. Enjoy an afternoon of Halloween-inspired games, bounce house, arts and crafts, and more spook-tactic activities! In the event of rain, activities will be moved indoors. The first costume contest starts at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and early arrival is recommended. For more information, visit sandiego.gov.
Pacific Beach AleHouse — Couldn’t make it to the Area 51 raid? No problem! Pacific Beach AleHouse is throwing an Area 51 extraterrestrial-themed Halloween celebration on Saturday, Oct. 26 and Oct. 31. Abduct the first-place prize in their alien-themed costume contest, and show off your out-of-this-world dance moves with DJs spinning from 10 p.m. to close. For more information, visit pbalehouse.com.
Halloween Window Painting — Bird Rock Community Council will host a Halloween window-painting event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Oct. 27, in the Bird Rock Merchant District. Participants can help paint a local merchant’s window. All supplies will be provided. Meet at the Edward Jones office, 5695 La Jolla Blvd. Pre-register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Halloween Movie — The La Jolla Riford Library will host a special Halloween movie presentation at 3 p.m., Oct. 31, at 7555 Draper Ave. The event will feature the 1944 American dark comedy film “Arsenic and Old Lace.” For more information, visit lajollalibrary.org.
Backyard Kitchen & Tap — Cruise your broomstick on over to Backyard for their coven-themed Halloween celebration at 8 p.m., Oct. 31, followed by a costume contest at 9 p.m., including categories for Most Original, Sexiest and Best Group. First-place winner gets a cash prize, so bring your A-game, and be sure to bust out your best Monster Mash on the dance floor with DJs spinning from 8 p.m. to close. For more information, visit backyardpb.com.
Waterbar — Villains of America’s Finest City unite this Halloween, at Waterbar’s super villain-themed fête on Oct. 26 and Oct. 31. Fuel your evil with $5 Jaeger Halloween shots and $8 Jaeger hot ginger cocktails on both nights, and unleash your inner villain on the dancefloor with killer moves. For more information, visit waterbarsd.com.
Breakfast Republic — Breakfast is witching hour when you head to one of Breakfast Republic’s eight locations for their Witch’s Elixir Mimosa during the month of October. This concoction is infused with a shot of tropical detox antioxidants cradled by brut bubbles, all finished with a raspberry rim. For more information, visit breakfastrepublic.com.
Bub’s @ the Beach — ‘Tis the season for caramel apples, so head to Bub’s @ the Beach during October for their Let’s Get (Apple) Sauced mule of the month, featuring Jack Daniels, Apple Pucker, butterscotch schnapps, lime juice, bitters, ginger beer and a caramel apple sucker for good measure. For more information, visit bubspb.com.