Ontario Reign Salutes Military on Appreciation Night
Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
San Bernardino Sun
ONTARIO - Military appreciation night at an Ontario Reign game Saturday was about embracing those in the military for their service, but it was more like a handshake and hug for Sandi Moreno.
Moreno, business facilities manager for USO at L.A./Ontario International Airport, helped organize the event with staff at Citizens Business Bank Arena and the Ontario Reign.
"If it hadn't been for Justin Kemp (owner of Ontario Reign), we wouldn't have got any of this done," Moreno said. "I really appreciate the Ontario Reign and the arena. Their support of the military is phenomenal."
As part of the recognition, anyone with a military ID received discounted tickets.
There were also several active servicemen and servicewomen on hand in the parking lot of the arena giving tours of various vehicles.
Wearing camouflage pants, Jim Sudberry of Mira Loma came out not only to support the local hockey team, but the men and women in the military.
"It's great! I really appreciate them for all their service, we need more of them," Sudberry said.
Just before the game Sudberry was out in the parking lot getting a close-up look of military vehicles on display.
Just behind Sudberry and also getting tours of the vehicles were Riverside resident Dennis Lloyd and his two children. Brendan, 7, and 4-year-old daughter Madison were given hands-on tours of the Humvee on display.
"I love this stuff," Lloyd said. "As a kid it
was neat to see and get into."
Lloyd, a veteran who served in the Navy for four years, said he appreciated Ontario Reign and the USO for the recognition.
He said he talked to his children a couple of days before the event to explain what the night was all about.
"It's very nice because so many times people turn the other cheek to the military," he said.
Despite being a volunteer for the USO at L.A./Ontario International Airport for the past two years, Otie Braden said military appreciation night was a learning experience for him.
He, along with the public, learned about the GPS system on the vehicles and how it is used, as well as talking to someone who has been there, Braden said.
"Iraq is a long way, but this brings it home," Braden said.
Braden served in the Army for two years during the 1960s.
Prior to the start of the game, Moreno and Lt. Col. Gordon Fawcett participated in the ceremonial puck drop. During the first intermission the public heard brief stories from World War II veterans Carl Dale Smith and Bob Corsaliga.
The night was also significant for the USO, because it helped create awareness about the organization and the services it offers to soldiers who are traveling, Moreno said.
"A lot of people don't know the USO is in Ontario and what we do to take care of soldiers," Moreno said. "The misconception is that all we do is entertain the troops."
Other than the night the USO has with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Fawcett said this is the biggest event they help host and hopes it becomes an annual event.
"The way this arena, city and the team have reached out to the USO is fantastic," he said. "This identifies the need for support to the troops."