This year on the Saturday before Memorial Day, over 100 students from Santa Ynez High School will gather at Ballard Cemetery to help decorate more than 800 veterans’ graves with flags and crosses or Stars of David. Each year it’s an amazing event that brings students and veterans together to honor those who served and learn about those who sacrificed.

But it wasn’t always that way. Until about 10 years ago, just a few veterans themselves did most of the decorating. Aside from a few Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, there was little help for our aging veterans in this very patriotic but labor-intensive activity.

Bruce Porter, a veteran himself, stepped in to change that. He worked with leaders from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the high school to come up with a way for student volunteers to engage veterans to make Memorial Day more meaningful to all concerned.

This coming Memorial Day weekend, come out to Ballard Cemetery. Watch as teams of five or six students (mostly from the football team and National Honor Society) work with a veteran in a section of the cemetery to identify and decorate graves, and along the way talk about what it means to serve one’s country. When it’s over, you’ll see an amazing mini-Arlington Cemetery with crosses gleaming in the sun and flags fluttering in the breeze.

That’s just one of the things Bruce Porter has done to enrich our community. He believes in kids. He honors and supports our veterans. And those are just some of the reasons I support Bruce Porter as our next county supervisor.


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