Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #287

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

1. Introduction: I welcome everyone to the podcast and encouraged residents to drink lots of water and be careful in the extreme heat. My very special guest is Pete Anderson from the Veterans Club who will talk about the flags and the Fourth of July parade. I am happy to tell you that the Shadows Restaurant has decided to get involved and will be offering red, white, and blue pina coladas for $6.00 and mimosas and Bloody Marys for $5.00 after the parade and for the flag raising.

2. History of the Veterans Club - Pete Anderson: The Veterans Club was started by Tom Hudson, a veteran and a colonel, who ran if for years. We lost Tom about three years ago. He initiated the Memorial Day and the Fourth of July celebrations. You may remember the Memorial Day celebration where we had up to 400 people turn out. I invited the ROTC cadets from Shadow Hills High School who did the flag raising. We also usually had two or three Marines from 29 Palms and the mayor of Indio. This is really what got the Veterans Club going.

Toys for Tots: Tom and I also worked together on starting the Toys for Tots at Christmas. We had a dinner with 60 or 70 people about three years ago and it has grown so much. We put Toys for Tots boxes throughout the community and two years ago -- the last time was before Covid -- we collected 1326 toys and 26 bicycles. The Marines take all of the donations to Cathedral City where they are divided by age and gender. We invite the Marines, the ROTC cadets and some of the teachers from Shadow Hills High School to the dinner and this is all paid for by the Veterans Club.

Flag Sale: You may know that our club member Larry Smith sells American flags for the Veterans Club. We've just ordered 100 flags and we sell them for your homes. If you have worn or tattered flags you can take them to Larry or to the Montecito. I pick them up several times a week and take them to the American Legion in Indio. We have two retirement burn flag parties per year. We bring in the ROTC cadets from Shadow Hills High School and the cadets from the American Legion. For the last one about a year ago, we had over 600 flags to burn. We alsohad two guerisson flags to burn. These are the huge flags that you see flying over car dealerships. The cadets helped us cut the flags into about twelve pieces to be able to retire them properly and burn them.

Veterans Club welcomes new members: We currently have only 56 members when we used to have over 100. This is due to Covid and also the loss of veterans. We welcome new members to share our activities. We are dark in July and August but in September we'll resume our monthly Tuesday meetings in the Montecito Clubhouse. We have had interesting guest speakers from the Air Museum, Patton Museum, VFW, and the Veterans Association. We provide information on benefits and how to access them. We invite the cadets to our parties where you have a chance to talk with them.

Flag poles at entrance gates: most communities like ours have the US flag and often the California flag at their gates. I was unable to get Pulte to provide this but we were getting close when Covid struck. With your support, John, it looks like we'll be able to have at least a US flag at each of our entrance gates and maybe a California flag, too. Hopefully, the HOA will pay for the 35 foot poles and the Veterans Club will pay for the flags.

3. Flags for the Fourth of July and the cart parade: I had previously referred everyone to Larry Smith, our "flag guy", but I didn't realize that he only has the larger size flags for your homes. You can get the small ones at hardware stores or Home Depot. Larry has the larger ones for you and also some handmade wood flags that he does himself. His address is 80620 Santa Juliana and he welcomes you to stop by.

Pete and his crew will meet at the Montecito Clubhouse at 7:00 a.m. on the Fourth of July to lay the flags out all across our community. The flags will go up on the morning of the 4th and will come down on the evening of the 5th. The parade will begin at the flagpole at the Montecito and will end at the Shadows Restaurant area where there will be a flag-raising ceremony by the vets. We may even have Johnny Goodrum there to sing American the Beautiful!

I've been so inspired by you, Pete, and the accomplishments of the Veterans Club. I don't join many clubs but I'm a vet and I'll join your club this year. We really appreciate what you and your vets do for us and thank you for being here today.