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A run for their sacrifices

Participants at OCC pay tribute to all of the country's service personnel with 5K run around track.

November 11, 2010|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

COSTA MESA — The city's young and old, and generations in between, took time Thursday to honor the men and women who have served in the American armed forces.

On one side of town, the Orange Coast College Student Veterans Group staged its first Veterans Day 5K Run-Walk in honor of OCC students who have served — or are currently serving — as active-duty personnel or reservists.

Elsewhere in Costa Mesa, a dedication ceremony was held at the Harbor Lawn-Mount Olive Memorial Park & Mortuary on Gisler Avenue.

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At OCC, Don Hall, a Navy reservist who returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2009, was among 90 students and community members who participated in the run.

He said the event made him feel part of the community college he recently began attending.

Political science professor Rendell Drew, who serves as the co-adviser of the OCC veterans group, said the veterans and the people now serving in the military are the ones who should be honored. The run, he said, was the least that could be done for them.

"We here at OCC think that if anybody is worthy of honor and respect, it's the students who have served or are currently serving in the military," Drew said.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, which helps severely injured veterans transition to civilian life.

Rick Noer, of Fountain Valley, ran in honor of his son-in-law, Lt. Tyler Bloecher, who is serving in the Navy.

"I think it's an honorable thing to do. We've kind of forgotten about them," Noer said. "We don't make a lot of sacrifices at home while they are making sacrifices, and, as a result, we forget about them."

One man who did not live to see this year's Veterans Day, however, left his mark at Thursday's ceremony at Harbor Lawn-Mount Olive.

The late 1st Lt. Harold "Bud" Hohl, a retired Marine, had spent more than 50 years tending to the memorial park. He was the one responsible for organizing the annual Costa Mesa Veterans Day ceremonies at Harbor Lawn-Mount Olive.

At the event, the new veterans memorial garden, which Hohl had worked on for many years to help install, was dedicated. The Marine died earlier this year.

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach spoke at the ceremony.

The garden, those in attendance explained, will serve as a symbol for those who gave their lives for their love of country and recognize the work many of them do when they return from service.

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