D’Arrigo California Honors Fallen Heroes and Their Gold Star Families
- by Jordan Okumura
SALINAS, CA - This industry has heart—a sentiment that takes many forms and touches lives in many ways. When it comes to honoring those that have made sacrifices for the good of all, D’Arrigo California is doing its part this year by becoming a proud supporter of the Fallen Heroes Highway Memorial Project.
“When Supervisor Luis Alejo called me to support the Fallen Heroes Highway Memorial Project, I agreed immediately,” John D’Arrigo, D’Arrigo California President and CEO, as well as Chairman of the Board stated. “Sandy and I are committed to honor the veterans and the gold star families who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan. I believe it is our civic duty to participate in the project as a family and company to honor not only the fallen soldiers but all soldiers around the world serving and protecting our country.”
According to a press release, in 2017, the California State Legislature gave approval to name highway stretches after five fallen Monterey County veterans. The Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 57 is designated for the Fallen Heroes Highway Memorial Project which was authored by State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) and State Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel). The resolution was sponsored by the County of Monterey as Supervisor Alejo originally proposed the legislation.
The project was created to honor five local veterans for serving, protecting and giving their lives for our freedom. The five Monterey County veterans who were killed in combat in Afghanistan were Edward Balli, Ricardo Cerros Jr., Javier Sanchez Jr., Vilmar Galarza, and Conrado Javier.
"These highway stretches will now forever carry the names of our five fallen heroes of Monterey County," said Supervisor Alejo. "These veterans paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country and now, we can honor them by installing highway signs that will make sure their names and sacrifice will never be forgotten by our local communities. We applaud our biggest supporters John and Sandy D’Arrigo for helping make this project a reality for the five Gold Star families.”
The signs will carry the names of these five veterans who died in combat:
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward Balli
Age 42, from Salinas, California and a North Salinas High School graduate, was killed in action in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on January 20, 2014. He received two Bronze Stars for his service in Iraq and Afghanistan. A portion of State Route 183 in the City of Salinas from Davis Road to Espinosa Road will be designated as the "United States Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward Balli Memorial Highway."
U.S. Army Ranger and Specialist Ricardo Cerros, Jr.
Age 24, from Salinas, California and an Everett Alvarez High School graduate, was killed in action in Logar Province, Afghanistan on October 8, 2011. He received the Purple Heart. A portion of State Highway 101 from Esperanza Road to Gould Road will be designated as the "United States Army Specialist Ricardo Cerros, Jr. Memorial Highway.”
U.S. Army Sgt. Javier Sanchez
Age 28, from Greenfield, California and a Ventana Continuation High School graduate, was killed in action in Sar Rowzah, Afghanistan on June 23, 2013. He received the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign Medals. A portion of State Highway 101 from Hudson Road near the City of Soledad to Espinosa Road near the City of Greenfield will be designated as the "United States Army Sgt. Javier Sanchez Memorial Highway."
U.S. Army Specialist Vilmar Galarza Hernandez
Age 21, of Salinas, California and an Everett Alvarez High School graduate, was killed in action in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on May 26, 2012. He received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal. A portion of State Highway 183 in the City of Salinas from Highway 101 to Davis Road will be designated as the "United States Army Specialist Vilmar Galarza Hernandez Memorial Highway."
U.S. Army Private First Class Conrado D. Javier
Age 19, from Marina, California, and a Seaside High School graduate, was killed in action in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, on December 19, 2010. A portion of State Highway 218 between the junction of State Route 68 in the City of Del Rey Oaks to the junction of State Highway 1 in the City of Seaside will be designated as the "United States Army Private First Class Conrado D. Javier Memorial Highway."
"Our family is proud to see this effort launch to install these highway signs that will honor my son and other Monterey County veterans who were killed in action," said Ricardo Cerros, Sr., Father of U.S. Army Ranger Ricardo Cerros, Jr. "We feel supported knowing our local communities have not forgotten their sacrifice and that we will have help to raise these necessary funds."
To commemorate the gesture, John D’Arrigo and his wife Sandy D’Arrigo presented a check to support the Fallen Heroes Highway Memorial Project to Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo. If you would like to donate, visit the Go Fund Me site and search Fallen Heroes Highway Memorial Project.