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Veteran's program off to slow start Ernesto Lopez | Sat, Jan 22 2011 12:00 PM

When the National City City Council unveiled a local Armed Forces Recognition program, an on-line board honoring service men and women with ties to the city, the hope was that there would be significant participation.

However, despite the city's strong military presence, the program has had a slow start, with only seven people being recognized so far.

Councilwoman Alejandra Sotelo-Solis said she brought the suggestion to City Council last September because of the "strong military presence in the city."

It was approved and launched at the Salute to the Navy Luncheon in late October.

"By doing this we are showing that we are appreciative of the work these service men and women do for our country," she said. "This is a great opportunity for people to recognize their sons and daughters, their grandparents and their neighbors."

The program aims to recognize veterans and active members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Students from the Sweetwater High School District who are serving in the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets also qualify.

The recognition is a posted picture on the city's Web site along with a small write-up on the individual.

Angelita Marchante, who is a management analyst for the City Manager's Office and is assisting with the recognition program, said that all people nominated must have some connection to National City.

"They could have lived here, worked here, been stationed here or have gone to school in the area," Marchante said.

Marchante said they have reached out to the local Naval Station in an effort to gather more candidates to recognize.

"I want to see a couple hundred to thousands of service people being recognized," Sotelo-Solis said. "I am excited to see the mix of the old school with the new."

Anybody can nominate service men and women and people can nominate themselves. To get an application for the program visit www.nationalcityca.gov or call (619) 336-4219.

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