El Cajon, CA
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Articles by BJ Coleman

Military veterans sacrificed part of their lives defending the nation’s freedoms. Some sacrifice a part of themselves and return home as wounded warriors. Advances in combat-related medicine have brought back many more than from previous hostilities, and suffering but recovering from more grievous wounds. The need has never been greater for programs providing for these veterans and their families.

Classics are identified by the fact that they never go out of style. A bit of occasional modest tailoring here and there to suit changing tastes is the only alteration ever necessary for a quality favorite of lasting popularity.

When Santa Claus harnesses his reindeer on Dec. 24, the North American Aerospace Defense Command stands on alert to track lead sleigh-puller Rudolph by the heat signature of his super-lit, red nose-so-bright. According to NORAD’s records, after departing from the North Pole, Santa travels south along the International Dateline then heads westward. He eventually arrives for everyone in East County on Santa’s “Nice List” during the last leg of his world-circling journey, last flying across the United States and South America.

Tails wagged, smiles abounded, and both canine and human tongues were hanging out for attendees anticipating dog treats and free-flowing beers, respectively.

From early-November election days actively celebrating gratefulness for freedom, through Thanksgiving, each year’s next-to-last month calls for acknowledging received blessings. 

In keeping with the season, Lakeside Farms Elementary School, on Tuesday, Nov. 5, held the school’s second annual Military Appreciation Breakfast thanking military families connected with the school for the service of active-duty troops and veterans, as well as the concomitant sacrifices of their family members.

The American Legion conducts a solemn ritual known as Eleventh Hour, which acknowledges veteran-members of the organization who have recently died. Meeting room doors are closed as Legionnaires gathered there stand in reverence. The Chaplain calls out the name of a comrade departed from among their ranks; a bell is tapped twice. Hearing silence, the Sergeant-at-Arms states, “No response,” salutes, and the Chaplain returns salute.

When cowboys stride into the main square, bystanders await eventful moments. The Hole in the Wall Gang, a Lakeside-based Western historical reenactment group, exceeded those expectations as the would-seem outlaws and lawmen took center stage as blank bullet rounds split the air, and cowboys bit the dust in mock gunfights at the Fall Festival of Lemon Grove’s St. John of the Cross Catholic Church on Sept. 27-29. 

Ask Dave Mathewson about his four-year-old El Cajon-based business, Mathewson Electric, and he describes a venture born of necessity but in truth sired by his father’s example of a solid work ethic. In 2008, Mathewson was employed in a union job as superintendent for a high-end remodeling company, also running the company electric shop. Then, in 2009, the economy tanked, the firm folded, and Mathewson was out of work.