SALINAS, Calif. - Signs displaying the names of our nation's heroes will soon be placed on highways around Monterey County.
They were unveiled Thursday night at an event in Salinas to memorialize five fallen men from Monterey County. All five were killed in combat in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2014.
- U.S. Army Ranger Ricardo Cerros, Jr. of Salinas
- Army Specialist Vilmar Galarza of Salinas
- U.S. Army Sargent Javier Sanchez, Jr. of Greenfield
- Army Chief Warrant Officer Edward Balli of Salinas
- Army Private First Class Conrado Javier of Marina
Richard Cerros Sr. was at Thursday unveiling. His son, Ricarco Cerros Jr., is one of the men being remembered through these highway signs.
"To see them memorialized whenever we go down south we'll see that sign and always remember, and hopefully other people will take a look at the sign and say 'hey that's someone who gave their life for their country'," Cerros Sr. said.
The event was held at the National Steinbeck Center (Salinas City Center). It was hosted by Supervisor Luis Alejo, the Salinas Veterans Day Parade Committee and Heroes of Monterey County.
Organizers say the process to get to this point started in 2017. Then-State Senator Anthony Cannella introduced a resolution to have CalTrans install highway signs on Highway 101, 183 and 218 in Monterey County. This was requested by Gold Star families.
A 2019 community fundraising campaign collected the needed funding.
In a statement, Congressman Jimmy Panetta said “these memorial signs are a symbol of our gratitude to these soldiers. We will always remember their names and their service." He adds “I am proud that our community is honoring these servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice.”