Assemblyman Mike Gatto honored La Crescenta resident Steve Pierce as Veteran of the Year for the 43rd District at the 2013 Assembly Veterans Recognition Luncheon today. A community leader and decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, Pierce’s military and civilian career have each been defined by steadfast service to our country and the community. Assemblyman Gatto flew Pierce to Sacramento to be recognized at a special luncheon held at the State Capitol.
“I chose Steve not only for his honorable service to our country during Vietnam but also for his strong character and commitment to our community,” said Gatto. “He embodies the values of selflessness and service that are hallmarks of a United States military veteran. He has put those values at the center of all he does.”
Pierce’s military service began in 1965 when he enlisted in the United States Navy. After two months of enlisted service Steve’s leadership and commitment led him to US Naval Officer Candidate School. Upon his honorable discharge in 1968, he was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Since then, Pierce has worked tirelessly to ensure that the memory and legacy of La Crescenta veterans are not lost. To this end, Steve is a member of American Legion Post 288 and VFW Post 1614. He also maintains the Vietnam Memorial in Montrose by buying flowers and keeping the area clean and litter free. One matter of particular importance to Gatto is Steve’s service to the Two Strike War Memorial Committee, where, alongside fellow veterans and community leaders, Pierce has been working to raise $75,000 to repair and add the names of all Crescenta Valley citizens killed-in-action to the wall.
Assemblyman Gatto commended Pierce’s endeavor, “It is essential that we remember the sacrifices made by servicemen and women on our behalf. Steve Pierce and the Two Strike Memorial Wall project committee are taking action to ensure that this important tribute, and the memories of the local heroes, who made the ultimate sacrifice, are preserved for future generations.”
Beyond his efforts on behalf of veterans, Pierce is also a respected and effective leader in many Crescenta Valley communities including La Crescenta and Montrose. He is the past President of the Crescenta Valley Town Council, a lead organizer of events like the Crescenta Valley Fourth of July Fireworks, and the Montrose Christmas Parade, and a driving force behind the creation of the Rosemont Preserve. His natural leadership and knowledge of the community were particularly valuable during the 2009 Station Fire, where Steve organized the county to fill sand bags to protect foothills residents from flooding after the fire.
“Community leaders like Steve Pierce, who give of themselves so freely, are the cornerstone of strong, stable, and vibrant communities,” said Gatto. “I am honored to recognize the dedication and service of a true American hero.”