Salinas Veterans Day Parade honors Salinas Police Officer Jorge David Alvarado Jr.
SALINAS, Calif. (KION)- This year, the Veterans Day Parade is dedicated to a fallen Salinas Officer.
Salinas Police Officer JD Alvarado Jr. joined the department after serving in the army. Including completing a tour of duty in Iraq.
He was killed while conducting a traffic stop back in February.
JD's older brother, Jorge Ernesto, is also a member of Salinas PD and spoke with KION about today's parade being dedicated to his brother.
"Well, it means the world, it means the world to every veteran to be recognized," said Jorge Ernesto Alvarado. "I mean, stories like my brother's, they're throughout the country, you know. People who have served their country and then they come back and continue their service here locally, in their own communities, so this is not a unique story. Unfortunately, some of us pay the ultimate price for the service, but that's something we understand."
To his family, JD, "was the most giving kid. He was the most generous person that I know. Very kind, very loving. You know… He was just an angel here," said his older brother.
Jorge Ernesto said Alvarado's family is coping with his little brother's death by sticking together and supporting one another.
On Tuesday, the Salinas City Council will vote whether to rename murphy street in salinas "JD Alvarado Circle" after the fallen hero.
Community members across the Central Coast are getting ready to witness the 12th annual Veterans Day Parade.
The parade will stretch across a mile and a half, beginning at Salinas High School and ending at the Steinbeck center. It’s an event committee members have worked three hundred sixty-five days for and is almost here.
"It's a military opening ceremony we go through the posting of our colors, we go through our national anthem," Tony Virrueta, the parade's chairman, said. "Our chaplain does an implication, and at that point, I have some opening comments, and then we welcome up our grand marshal."
This year an individual the community lost but never forgot will be honored.
"This year, we're dedicating it to Officer JD Alvarado. JD Alvarado was a police officer here in Salinas but prior to that was a combat veteran in the army. He was killed in service here in Salinas, killed in action, but at the same time, we're honoring him to thank him for his service."
The committee making this all happen for you to witness has dedicated members who worked long hours. This year a newcomer came to the scene and extended his helping hand.
Salinas native Joey Sanchez comes from a military family who has been on the battlefield for years. Sanchez didn’t let his personal battle get in the way of his goal for this year’s parade.
"This is gonna be my fourth year from remission from leukemia, so that has just been my mission is the second I was able to get back to my community and just even bigger whatever way I can whatever way I can help out, I'm going to and the biggest one is helping my veterans and honoring my grandfather," said Sanchez.
But Sanchez plans to help out this year and in years to come.
"Being a part of this committee is something I’m hoping to be a part of the next twelve years, the next thirteen years. I want to be a part of this for a long time because this is where my heart is"
Over one hundred veterans are set to walk the streets of Salinas. One, in particular, will be honored as this year's Grand Marshal. Colonel Lisa Lamb has had a successful military career. She ventured all throughout the world and knew from a young age she wanted to serve others.
"I'm excited, and again this is just a humbling experience for me." Stated Lamb.
Lamb, who is currently the Garrison Commander for Fort Hunter Liggett, wants to remind the community that veterans should be celebrated no matter the day.
"Our veterans are part of the community, I mean their teachers, their firemen like the firetruck right behind us. Their lawyers and doctors, essentially, they are the community.”
The event is free for you to enjoy. All you have to do is follow the flags near downtown and listen for the commotion.