Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

USO at El Encanto


The Greater Chamber of Commerce sponsored a Free Veterans Resource Fair at the historical El Encanto on June 10th that was used as a USO Hospitality Center during World War II.

The event featured booths manned by the US Army, the US Navy, the Marines, the Monterey Park Police Department, the Chinese American Military Support, American Legion Post 397 and Radiant Mortgage Bank who offers VA loans to veterans.

They offered information regarding the benefits given to members serving in the military towards education, housing and retirement.




American Society of Military Museum History provided artifacts that included a transportation vehicle, a 75MM gun and various equipment from World War II.





Retired from the Marines Jesse Gonzales, Alice Varela and Bellia Wood had a very large person collection of military posters and artifacts from World War II that he shared with the crowd.


Chamber Manager Dave Barron welcomed everyone to this celebration. He spoke of the history of El Encanto that was Peter Snyder’s real estate sales office before the 1929 crash, the USO Club and a private home. He spoke about the historical building that was used for family parties but now it is used for business meetings.

Mr. Snyder sold the building (three combined houses) and gave the Cascades to the city. The city could not afford to purchase all three of the buildings so the property was split up into three lots.

El Encanto is opened to the public so please call the Chamber if you would like a tour and a history lesson on the property. The Chamber is looking for new members to join them.

June 14th is Flag Day and this year is the 242nd birthday of the US Army that was created one year before the United States of America became a free nation.


Members of the American Legion Post 397 presented the colors. Mr. Barron led the Pledge of Allegiance and asked everyone to sing our National Anthem.

Mr. Barron said the military members are on hand to answers any questions for young people and their families who are interested in joining the Army, the Marines or the Navy and serve their country. He thanked the sponsors for the generous donations and the student volunteers from Mark Keppel. He thanked the young people and he thanked the Chamber members for this event. Please enjoy the hot dog lunch.


Post Chaplain Tom McCrady led the invocation. He asked God to bless and keep our military members in the afterlife with love and fulfillment. He asked God to bless the souls of the faithfully departed.


Janet Chin and Jorge Marquez from Senator Ed Hernandez’s office helped to sponsor this event with the City of Monterey Park, the Greater Chamber of Monterey Park, the Monterey Park Historical Society and the Chinese American Military Support.

They were here to recognize our veterans and thank them for their service. They also thanked the Monterey Park Fire Department, the Monterey Park Police Department, the Historical Society and the Chamber for their help in collecting the artifacts for this event.


Alice Varela read a poem dedicated to military members as part of the program.





A member of Boy Scout Troop 286 read the poem “Old Glory” during the Flag Ceremony when the military members passed a traditional folded flag from member to member with respect and handed the flag off to the Chamber Boardmembers in honor of this event.


A cake cutting ceremony was held in honor of the 242nd birthday of the US Army. The tradition is the oldest and youngest member of the troop would cut the cake with a saber.



Janet Chin and Jorge Marquez presented proclamations honoring members of the US Army: Major Stewart Chen, SSG Chad Salcedo, SGT Antonio Esparza, Capt. Douglas Groce and Ray Chen from CAMS.

Ms. Chin thanked everyone for coming to this special celebration.


Henrietta and Laurence Stevens from Alhambra were in attendance. He received a proclamation from Senator Ed Hernandez for his service as a member of the Army Air Corps. He flew 35 missions over Europe during World War II. He has written a book on his war experience “It Only Takes One”. Mr. Stevens retired from the Alhambra Fire Department after 31 years of service.

Alice Varela founded Support Kinds in Progress Inc. to honor the members of military families.

Leave a Response