9/11 Patriot Day in the park; a promise to never forget

During the 9/11 Patriot Day in the Park Memorial Ceremony at Pleasanton River Park, first responders were recognized for their service, bravery and dedication. Attendees included Atascosa VFW Post 4853 members Mark Anderson and Patricia Hewitt, American GI Forum – National Veterans Outreach Program CEO Sergio Dickerson and COO Paul Bernal, Col. Chris Wynder (at the retired), Pleasanton Director of Public Works David Alviso, Pleasanton Parks and Recreation members Justin Menchaca, Terri Cuevas and American Legion Post 436 member Jose Ramirez Willie Leal. Also in attendance were the Pleasanton Police Department, Pleasanton Fire Department, Texas DPS, Atascosa County EMS, Rossville VFD, Christine VFD, Eagle JROTC Battalion, and Poteet VFW Post 6970. Guest speakers for the event included Pleasanton Mayor Clinton Powell, Pleasanton Police Chief Ronald Sanchez, Mario Escobedo, Pleasanton Fire Department Chief, Bill Brietzke, EMS of Atascosa County, and Robert Miller , minister of the Church of Christ of Pleasanton. ALYX MORGAN | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

The second annual Patriot Day in the Park was held on Saturday, September 10 at Pleasanton River Park.

Patriot Day in the Park was launched last year to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Woody Wilson of the Atascosa County Running Club came up with the idea. He wanted our community to show that we kept our promise and that we will never forget the sacrifices made and the lives lost in the event that changed our world.

Part of Patriot Day in the Park is a memorial ceremony to remember the lives lost on 9/11 and to honor our local veterans and first responders who continue to put their lives on the line to protect and serve. The opening of the ceremony began with the presentation of the nation’s colors by the Pleasanton JROTC and was followed by the Patriot Day in the Park 5k/one mile walk.

Guest speakers at the event included Deputy Senior Commander Mark Anderson of Post 4853 Mark Anderson, Mayor of Pleasanton Clint Powell, Pleasanton Fire Chief Mario Escobedo, Pleasanton Police Chief Ronald Sanchez and Atascosa EMT Bill Brietzke. A prayer was led by Pleasanton Church of Christ minister Robert Miller.

Chief Escobedo, along with other members of the Pleasanton Fire Department, created a wooden display that featured a 9/11 Memorial Flag that includes the names of those killed on 9/11.

“On the screen we have a memorial flag of the names of all the 9/11 victims,” Anderson said.

“Among those lost were 343 firefighters, 23 police officers, 37 Port Authority police officers, eight emergency medical technicians and paramedics and one patrolman who were all killed in the attack. It was a heartbreaking event, which is why, a year later, Patriot Day was proclaimed by President George W. Bush and is now recognized annually on 9/11.

Mayor Powell approached the dais and recalled where he was on 9/11. He explained how 9/11 changed the world and our security measures. As a pilot, Powell had to adapt to many safety protocol changes.

The winners of Saturday's second annual Patriot Day 5K in the park.

The winners of Saturday’s second annual Patriot Day 5K in the park.

“All security measures are due to what happened that day,” Mayor Powell said. “As you’re sitting up there in the cockpit, all the paperwork is done, the passengers are on, we’re about to call to push and you tell them ‘you can close the main pilot door’ and then They closed the door behind you It’s a ballistic door And if we’re doing this today it’s because of what happened 21 years ago Thank you all for coming commemorate the event, but also celebrate the bravery of those who lost their lives that day. Thank you all for coming.”

Chief Escobedo stressed the importance of honoring those who have already served.

“Don’t let this day go away,” Escobedo said. “Keep it in your mind and heart. Continue to honor those who served. Each entity.

Atascosa EMT Bill Brietzke was working in Arlington, Virginia when the first tower was hit by the plane. After being informed of the accident, it was moments later that he discovered that the Pentagon, about half a mile from his office, had also been hit.

Male winners of Saturday's second annual Patriot Day 5K in the park.  ALYX MORGAN |  PLEASANTON EXPRESS PICTURES

Male winners of Saturday’s second annual Patriot Day 5K in the park. ALYX MORGAN | PLEASANTON EXPRESS PICTURES

“When we talk about how it changed America, it’s so true. It was a 180 degree turn. Security changed, everything changed. That was 21 years ago. We have took a big black eye that day, but we’re much stronger today,” Brietzke said.

Following the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony was the second annual Patriot Day 5K in the park.

Many thanks to the Gold and Silver sponsors who helped make this event possible for the benefit of JROTC. Gold sponsors include the Town of Pleasanton, Ms. Barbara Jean Peeler and RB Printing, Pursch Motors, Lillian Cashmer Insurance Agency, Hurley Funeral Home, Wigington Rumley Dunn and Blair LLC – Trace Blair Brohill Realty and the Pleasanton Express. Silver sponsors include PC Air, Price Chevrolet, The Tat Studio, H&R Block – Keith Shearrer, Atascosa Bank, Wells Construction, Bert Williams Insurance and RM Car Care.

Lillie Manguso came in first in the women's division 1-14 at the Patriot Day 5k.

Lillie Manguso came in first in the women’s division 1-14 at the Patriot Day 5k.

The inaugural Patriot Day 5k raised over $3,000 and a check was donated to the local JROTC. The Pleasanton Express will publish the final amount for this year’s race in the coming weeks.

Nichole Brauchle was the women’s overall winner for the second time with a time of 22:57.3 and Paul Lloyd was the men’s overall winner with a time of 20:15.3.

Anna Shahan and Gary Samsel were the top male and female finishers.

Here are the results of the best in each age category.

1-14 Men:
1. Eli Daily
2. Ayden Award
3. Matthew Lopez
15-19 years Male:
1. Kenneth Alegria
2. Rion Ochoa
3. Jayden Herrera
20-24 Men:
1. Eli Cruz
25-29 Male:
1. Richard Garza
35-39 Male:
1. Peter MacDonough
2. Martin Silva
3. Jeremy Lahey
45-49 Male:

1. Paul Lloyd
50-54 Male:
1.Sam Gallardo
2. Gumercindo Trejo
3. Louis Tudyk
55-59 Male:
1. Gary Samsel
2.Oscar Castaneda
3. Wes Chahan
60-64 Male:
1. Bob Marabella
65-69 Male:
1. Antoine Rodriguez
2. Woody Wilson
70-99 Male:
1. Joe Ramirez
2. Ed Blackmon
1-14 Female:

1. Lillie Manguso
2. Brooklyn Castillo
3. Loretta Sewell
15-19 Female:
1. Alania Nethken
2. Yasmine Diop
3. Alyssa Castelar
25-29 Female:
1. Meghan Oberle
2. Hannah Hoose
30-34 Female:
1. Chelsea Lahey
2. Kimberley Dickey
35-39 Female:
1. Elise Brown
2. Nikki Boehme
40-44 Female:
1. Nichole Brauchle
2. Amanda Silva

45-49 Female:
1. Anna Shahan
2. Rachel Garza
50-54 Female:
1. Renee Tudyk
55-59 Female:
1. Caroline Hudson
2. Deanna Popham
65-69 Female:
1.Nancy Anderson
2. Valerie Barta
3. Terry Collins

Look for a collage of the 9/11 Memorial Day ceremony and the 5K Patriot Day in the Park in next week’s Pleasanton Express. Please support the sponsors who supported this event.

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