SACRAMENTO — Ten veterans — five from the Coachella Valley and five from Southwest County —will be honored at ceremonies later this month in Palm Desert and Wildomar as the recipients of Sen. Jeff Stone’s, R-Riverside County, 2018 Veterans Service Awards.

“We had a record number of nominations and it was quite a challenge to select the 10 recipients this year,” Stone said in a prepared statement. “While I believe everyone who serves honorably in our military is worthy of special recognition, after reviewing the applications with the veterans who serve on my staff, these are the veterans who were selected for this year’s awards.”

The awards are based not only on military service, but also on the contributions of service each veteran has made in his or her community following his or her time in uniform.

The following is a list of the 2018 honorees and some of their military service accomplishments and their community service accomplishments:

Coachella Valley

Danny Richardson 

Military 

  • US Marine Corp. 1969 – 1989, FMR 1989 – 1999

Community 

  • Youth Sports Coordinator for Idyllwild Town Hall 2004-12
  • Idyllwild Rotary Club 2005-present, President 2011-12 & 2014-15

Honor Guard, Color Sergeant – American Legion Post 800 Idyllwild 2007-present
American Legion, Post 800, Idyllwild from 2005-present, Commander 2010-12 & 2014-present

Javad Aghaloo

Military 

  • United States Air Force and Air Force Reserve, active duty

Community 

  •  As a dentist he participates in missions every year providing medical services in rural areas
  • Founded a non-profit providing dental health care for low income families and veterans
  • Since 2016 treated an estimated 10,500 patients in the Coachella Valley and Imperial County

Steve Sanchez

Military 

  • U.S. Marine Corps – 1996-2004

Community 

  • Board of Directors for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Desert
  • Board of Directors for Leadership Coachella Valley
  • Board of Directors for Young Scholars Association
  • Former Board of Directors, La Quinta Chamber of Commerce
  • Former Chairman of the Board of Directors, Indio Chamber of Commerce
    Former Co-Chair for Animal Samaritans annual fundraiser
  • Former participant in The Girlfriend Factors annual fundraiser

Jeff Horton

Military 

  • U.S. Army 1999-2009

Community 

  • VFW Post 1534 Commander
  • Saved Post from being closed
  • Volunteer at the Ca-942 JROTC Program at Cathedral City High School
  • Rotarian in Desert Hot Springs
  • Member of the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerc

Christopher Paolini

Military 

  • US Marine Corp 1972-1993

Community 

  • Donates food and other resources to veterans groups
  • Helps feed the homeless and senior citizens during the holiday season.

Southwest Riverside County

Darci Castillejos

Military 

  • US Navy Chief Petty Officer (retired) — 1994 – 2016 — Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan

Community 

  • Past Chairman and current 1st Vice-Chair Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Past president, Current Treasure Menifee Valley Community Cupboard
  • Past Vice-President Menifee Valley Incorporation Committee
  • Past Member Menifee General Plan Advisory Committee
  • Past President Menifee Valley Middle School PTSA
  • Past Chairman The Forum, coordinating volunteer activated at March ARB
  • President Menifee Chamber Military Affairs Committee

    Donald E. Kramp

Military 

  • Sgt. U.S. Marine Corps, 1950- 1952 — Korean War Veteran

Community 

  • Co-founder Murrieta Veterans Memorial committee
  • Founder and Commandant #1057 Marine Corp League
  • Volunteer at Murrieta Senior Center providing information for Veterans
  • Served on Riverside County Department of Veterans Affairs committee
  • Founder and Organizer of Murrieta Patriot’s Day

Paul W. Bishop

Military 

  • Lt. Colonel, USMC (retired) 1973-1993 — Operation Bear Hunt, Operation Team Spirit, participated in rescue of merchant ship “Mayaguez.”

Community

  • Initiated Marine JROTC program at Eisenhower HS in Rialto
  • Initiated Navy JROTC program at Pacifica HS in Garden Grove
  • In 2000 initiated and still runs the Navy JROTC program at Chaparral HS in Temecula
  • Coordinated “Trees for Troops” and “Meals for Troops” during the holidays
    Member of Congressman Issa’s Academy Selection Panel

Arthur Allen

Military 

  • Master Gunnery Sgt. USMC – 1986 – 2016 — Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom

Community 

  • Active member Temecula Valley VFW Post 4089
  • City of Menifee Department of Community Services
  • Volunteer Docent for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Museum Foundation
  • At-large member Veteran’s Advisory Committee Riverside County
  • Volunteered at 2nd Annual North San Diego County Homeless Veterans Stand Down
    Inland Valley Habitat for Humanity
  • Coordinated VFW 4089 effort at “Home For Our Troops” Key Ceremony

KJ Leibe

Military 

  • U.S. Army 1969-1970 — Vietnam War Veteran

Community 

  • Co-founded “All from the Heart” — based in Temecula — which assists veterans and military families across the region
  • Organizes events for veterans, including Christmas party for Camp Pendleton families
  • Co-founded “Wheels for Warriors” which has provided almost 450 wheel chairs to veterans in need
  • Supports combat veterans through his work with Veteran Equine Therapy
  • Member Veterans Wellness Advisory Board thru VA and Loma Lindaejo

Stone represents California’s 28th Senate District. The district, which is entirely in Riverside County, stretches from the vineyards of the Temecula Valley to the Colorado River and includes the cities of Blythe, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Wildomar.

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