Nonprofits

Honoring San Benito County heroes

Quilts of Honor ceremony celebrates hometown leaders as well as U.S. veterans
Belinda Scattini accepted a quilt in honor of her late husband, U.S. Army veteran and former SBC Sheriff and Marshal, Robert D. Scattini. Photo by Jenny Mendolla Arbizu.
Belinda Scattini accepted a quilt in honor of her late husband, U.S. Army veteran and former SBC Sheriff and Marshal, Robert D. Scattini. Photo by Jenny Mendolla Arbizu.
Paramedic Briana Lee. Photo by Jenny Mendolla Arbizu.
Paramedic Briana Lee. Photo by Jenny Mendolla Arbizu.
2021 Quilts of Honor and Hometown Heroes Recipients with Congressman Jimmy Panetta. Photo by Jenny Mendolla Arbizu.
2021 Quilts of Honor and Hometown Heroes Recipients with Congressman Jimmy Panetta. Photo by Jenny Mendolla Arbizu.

The Pinnacle Quilters of San Benito County held its sixth annual Quilts of Honor Ceremony at the San Benito County Fair on Oct. 3. The event, which was attended by Congressman Jimmy Panetta, honored 11 local U.S. veterans and eight local hometown heroes with homemade quilts. This year was the first time non-veterans were honored by the quilters.

The veteran honorees were:

  • Danny Cordova, U.S. Army National Guard
  • Anthony Del Real, U.S. Air Force
  • Gerald Gabe (in memoriam), U.S. Air Force
  • Gary Hosman, U.S. Air Force
  • Milton Kelly, U.S. Army 
  • Patrick Kennedy, U.S. Army
  • David E. Lantis, U.S. Navy
  • Wayne Mezerkor, U.S. Navy
  • Jose Ornelas Reynoso, U.S. Marine Corps
  • Robert D. Scattini (in memoriam), U.S. Army
  • Michael C. Wilson, U.S. Army

Hometown Hero honorees were:

  • Dr. Michael Bogey, Hazel Hawkins Hospital chief of staff, chief medical officer and chief of emergency medicine
  • Russel Brown, San Benito County sheriff’s deputy 
  • Breyon Canez, SBC sheriff’s sergeant
  • Staci Esqueda, Hollister police officer
  • Hazel Hawkins Hospital employees
  • Linda Lampe, homeless advocate, Hollister Community Outreach
  • Brianna Lee, paramedic
  • Dr. Amit Mathur M.D., former Hazel Hawkins Hospital chief of staff 

Panetta urged his listeners to help others in the community.

“With these quilts, we not only thank you for your service, but we acknowledge that it’s’ this kind of service which is the fabric of our country, and allows us to experience the strength of our American democracy,” Panetta said. “I believe that we are a nation based on ‘We the People.’ It’s left up to all of us to ensure that the people of our community and of our country not run away from disaster and disease, but that they run towards it.”

Including this year’s 19 quilts, a total of 155 quilts have been given to honorees since the ceremony’s inception in 2015, Pinnacles Quilters Chairwoman Diane Meserkor said. 

The annual ceremony, inspired by the National Quilts of Valor, had fewer nominations for veterans this year, Mezerkor said. She attributed the lack of nominees to the pandemic. In response, quilters opened nominations for non-veteran locals who went above and beyond to help county residents during the past year.

 

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Jenny Mendolla Arbizu

Jenny is a Hollister native who resides in her hometown with her husband and son. She graduated from San Benito High School, and received her BA in Literature from UC Santa Cruz and her MA in Education from San Jose State University. Jenny has written for the Hollister Freelance, San Benito Magazine and South Valley Magazine. She finds joy in meeting new people in San Benito County and in spotlighting the county’s events and businesses. When not writing, Jenny can be found cuddling with her fur-babies, performing with SBSC, singing with the Hollister VFW, or doing rope climbs at Cold Storage CrossFit.