CUTLER-OROSI – Local veterans and their guests are invited to a special luncheon ahead of the Orosi Veterans Parade next weekend.
The 21st annual Orosi Veterans Luncheon begins with a social hour at the Orosi Memorial Hall at noon Nov. 2, followed by lunch at 12:30 p.m. Veterans eat free and tickets for invited guests are $20. Area veterans will continue to be honored at the 26th annual Orosi Veterans Parade on Nov. 4.
“I wanted to honor all veterans; new ones, old ones, the ones that are being trained, it’s important that we honor them, because that’s a hard thing to do,” Romelia Castillo, the event organizer, said.
United States Army veteran Julio Rojas will be this year’s parade grand marshal. The 85-year-old Rojas served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division after being drafted in 1961 during the Vietnam War.
Rojas was born in the Mexican state of Guanajuato before he moved to the United States with his family, where they worked as migrant farmworkers throughout Texas, Wyoming, Michigan and Ohio. He became a U.S. citizen during his time in the Army.
After serving, he was a member of the Texas National Guard until the family moved to Dinuba. In the 1980s and ‘90s, Rojas was involved in the Dinuba civic organization Mexicanos Unidos, for which he also served as president. Rojas was married to his wife, Eva, for 41 years before she died in 2005; they had three children and eight grandchildren together.
Rojas is still an active member of the Western Regional Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Foundation, which worked with the American Legion Alta Post 19 to bring the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to the city. According to his biography provided by Castillo, he is constantly involved in meetings and fundraising for the organization.
The Orosi Veterans Luncheon will be at the Orosi Memorial Hall located at 41645 Road 128 in Orosi. For tickets and parade information, contact Romelia Castillo at 559-273-3161. Flyers for the luncheon state that RSVPs are required by Oct. 23, but Castillo said people can still attend.
The Orosi Veterans Parade begins at 9 a.m. Nov. 4 at the intersection of Avenue 416 and Highway 63 and will travel along Highway 63 to Avenue 408, across from the Tulare County fire station in Cutler.