Sacrifice and service


On Friday, March 25, an event was hosted by the Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce as part of its Hero Appreciation Months to honor three local veterans. This year’s selections were, in photo above from left to right, Duane “Gunner” Gunnerud, Bob Abanathie, and Charles “Chuck” Meaders. 

Gunner, who recently moved from Three Rivers to Reedley with his wife, Portia, after 25 years here, served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. 

Bob, who resides in Three Rivers with his wife, Valerie, is the former owner of Best Western Holiday Lodge (now Western Holiday Lodge) in Three Rivers. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served his country for 20 years, including three years in Vietnam. 

Chuck Meaders, who recently relocated from Three Rivers to Visalia, served in the U.S. Army during World War II and received the Bronze Medal for battlefield valor. Fifty years later, Chuck returned to Germany with some Army buddies, and they retraced their original path across the country.

The gala gathering, held at the Three Rivers Historical Museum, was attended by family and friends and included a buffet of food and beverages. The veterans shared stories and photos and were honored with plaques. 

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