City of Leon Valley to dedicate bridge to veteran

On Sunday, November 11, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p. the City of Leon Valley along with Leon Valley City Officials, and numerous special guests will dedicate the Evers Road Bridge in honor of all veterans and especially Marine Lance Cpl. Stephen J. Perez who gave his life in battle on April 13, 2006, in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Stephen J. Perez was a young man that spent a good portion of his life in Leon Valley. As a small boy, Stephen played baseball with his brother at Northwest Little League. Stephen attended St. Mary’s University, but felt a calling to serve his Country. He enlisted and became a Marine in 2003, but still called Leon Valley home.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, and two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.

Mrs. Diana Pena-Smith, mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Stephen J. Perez stated, “There are not enough words to express the emotions I am feeling at the moment.  The reality of this amazing memorial bridge, being named in honor of my fallen son, Stephen J. Perez, is incomprehensible.  It has been over 12 years since Stephen was killed in action in Iraq, 04/13/2006, and I am humbled that the City of Leon Valley would honor Stephen to this magnitude.  From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Police Chief Joe Salvaggio and Former Fire Chief Luis Valdez for their vision and promotion of this project, to Mayor Chris Riley and City Council for unanimously approving and enhancing it, and to Officer Mike Tacquard and the City Staff for their tireless efforts in making this dedication possible.  As I have been assured by family, friends, and former soldiers and Marines, Stephen will “never be forgotten!”

Please join us at Veterans’ Memorial Park on Sunday, November 11, 2018, for a very special bridge dedication ceremony to honor all veterans and Marine Lane Cpl. Stephen J. Perez.

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