Veterans of the Year
Veterans of the Year Nominations
The Veterans of the Year program began in 2011 to celebrate a male and female resident veteran from all wars and conflicts within the Mission Viejo community. Since then, veteran honorees have been recognized during our annual Veterans Day ceremony. Applications to nominate a veteran are available online and can be dropped off at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center at 24932 Veterans Way or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact 949-470-3062 or email@example.com.
Veterans of the Year 2018:
Gilbert Calderon Castro and Carlia Oldfather were honored as Mission Viejo's Veterans of the Year for 2018 on Sunday, November 11 during the City's annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center.
Gilbert Calderon Castro, U.S. Army
Gilbert Castro has lived a life of service – stemming back more than 50 years when he enlisted in the Army and was assigned to the 1st Calvary Division (“First Team”). This team was one of the most decorated combat divisions in the Vietnam War. For his efforts in the Tet Offensive and other military engagements, Gilbert received the Bronze Star, Air Medal, National Defense Medal and a Presidential Citation.
After the Army, Gilbert worked on a Space Shuttle and other projects for Rockwell International Space Division. Today, he continues a 32-year tradition of community service. Gilbert helps veterans struggling with addiction and homelessness; and is a longtime volunteer for nonprofit organizations making a difference in the lives of other.
Carlia Oldfather, U.S. Army
Carlia Oldfather enlisted in the Army in 2010 and worked through six military ranks to earn the rank of sergeant. She served as an interpreter for foreign officers and excelled in transcribing intelligence products between English and Spanish languages, among many other roles. While serving our country, Carlia received several awards including the Sergeant Major of the Army; Army Achievement Medals; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and the Army Service Ribbon.
Along with military service, community service runs deep in Carlia’s blood. She joined Stand up for Kids to operate an at-risk youth student outreach center and later became the Youth Mentoring Program Director. As a youth advocate, she established a partnership with Saddleback College to serve homeless students on campus. She is a liaison to the Raising Stars Pilot program for home sharing, leads an outreach team throughout Mission Viejo and recently became Director of Operations for the Orange County chapter of Stand Up for Kids. She is also active in the City’s Drug Prevention Coalition and Mission Viejo Kiwanis Club.