Photo provided by San Benito LULAC 2890.
Photo provided by San Benito LULAC 2890.

Information provided by San Benito County LULAC 2890. Lea este articulo en español aqui.

San Benito County League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 2890,  VFW Post 9242 and American Legion Post 69 announce selection of Larry Brown and Bryan Morse as their 2023 “Veteran of the Year Award” awardees. Both Veterans have a history spanning decades demonstrating a spirit of excellence through their dedication and unselfish acts.

Veteran of the Year, Larry Brown has been happily married for 65 years to Darlene and they have two sons, John and Mark. Larry served two tours in Vietnam with the United States Navy from 1966 -1970 on the USS Kearsarge and USS Hornet. He was a boiler plant operator for the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey.  

A lifetime member of VFW Post 9242, Larry is widely known as becoming part of the solution to hunger in San Benito County as a volunteer for the past 18 years with the Community Food Pantry. For decades, Larry has served and volunteered as a Scout and Unit District Executive for the Boy Scouts of America, providing the direction, coaching, and training that empowers today’s youth with the skills they need to lead tomorrow. Larry is currently an assistant Scoutmaster to Troop 400 and is a merit badge trainer and counselor supporting our younger generation by preparing them to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes.

For the past 38 years Larry has also volunteer as a docent with the California State Parks in San Juan Bautista.  Larry has a deep and abiding belief in democracy while empowering voters by volunteering for multiple years serving as an Election Poll worker dedicated to ensuring the smooth functioning of the voting process.

Veteran of the Year, Bryan Morse, has been happily married for 23 years to Linda. Bryan served four tours in Vietnam as a Gunners Mate Guns 4 with the United States Navy from 1961–1966. He was recalled but was unable to re-enlist due to an injury. As he transitioned to civilian life Bryan worked at Kragen Auto and continued by joining the Sherwin-Williams Paint Family retiring after 46 years. During his time with the Sherwin-Williams, Bryan was the community liaison donating painting material and supplies to local nonprofits and families in need.

As a member of the California Air Quality Resources Board, the lead agency for climate change programs, Bryan oversees all air pollution control efforts in the state. A Lifetime Member of VFW Post 9242, Bryan is known for having a heart of gold and going out of his way to brighten the day making life easier for others, especially those that are less fortunate and often forgotten or ignored. For years, he has been an active volunteer in the Babe Ruth Bambinos helping our challenged and special needs youth and adults to develop confidence and positive self-esteem. Bryan is also active with the Hollister High School Buckaroos, volunteering for the annual rodeo for special needs children and adults in our community.

However, one of Bryan’s most important contributions, especially to our military families, is as a member of the honor detail for our Military Funeral Honors “honoring those who served.” The solemn ceremony includes the playing of ‘Taps’ and the folding and presentation of the American flag to the next of kin. Taps— a haunting but distinctive American melody, with only 24 notes — but those clear, sad tones conjure up memories of loved ones lost, instill hope, and bring comfort and peace to the families and communities of those who have served with honor. For years, the mourning sound of Taps has been played by Bryan, our VFW bugler, who acutely understands the importance of properly sounding Taps, as a way of expressing the nation’s gratitude for a veteran’s service — always with the “service before self” motto.

Our awardees will be introduced and honored at our Veterans Day Ceremony on November 11, 2023. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Hollister Veterans’ Memorial Building at 649 San Benito Street. The public is invited to attend the ceremony. A tri-tip lunch will be served after the ceremony at a cost of $15 to the general public, and FREE TO ALL VETERANS, followed by our parade down San Benito Street.