La Crescenta resident and veteran Mike Baldwin was recognized Wednesday as Veteran of the Year for the 43rd District, which includes Montrose-La Crescenta.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto flew Baldwin to Sacramento for the 2012 Assembly Veterans Recognition Luncheon.
"I think it was really nice that they recognized me. Every assemblyman and senator had a representative there from their district. It was really nice to meet a lot of fellow veterans, to be recognized, know that they appreciate it," Baldwin told Patch.
Baldwin is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War and continues to serve both his country and community. Wednesday he had the opportunity to meet Gatto and his staff.
"I liked to see my fellow veterans get recognized too," Baldwin said.
“I chose Mike not only for his honorable service to our country during Vietnam but also for his strong character and commitment to our community,” said Gatto.
“He embodies the values of selflessness and service that are hallmarks of a United States veteran. He has put those values at the center of all he does, as a father, grandfather, and community leader,” Gatto said.
Baldwin enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966, during the height of the Vietnam War. He played an instrumental role in Operations as a member of the 1st Infantry Division. Upon his honorable discharge in 1968, he was awarded a Bronze Star, two Army Commendation Medals, and a Vietnam Service Ribbon for his service.
“I am proud of my service and of the fellow veterans I served with. I learned skills from my service that I used when I returned and still use today. All have made me a better person for my family and community," Baldwin said.
Locals can find Baldwin today as the Post Adjutant, 20th District Commander of American Legion Verdugo Hills Post 288 and Post Adjutant of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1614.
Baldwin works to restore the Two Strike Park War Memorial in La Crescenta. Assemblyman Gatto is also working to raise funds for the memorial, according to a news release.
The war memorial project is estimated at $75,000 to repair and add the names of all Crescenta Valley citizens Killed-in-Action to the wall. Baldwin leads this project alongside fellow veterans and community leaders so that all local fallen soldiers can be recognized.
“It is essential that we remember the sacrifices made by servicemen and women on our behalf," Gatto said. "Mike Baldwin and the Two Strike Memorial Wall project committee are taking action to ensure that this important tribute, and the memories of the local heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, are preserved for future generations.”
To learn more about the Two Strike Memorial Wall project or to donate to the fundraiser, visit the Two Strike Memorial website.