FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gilbert Honors Three Heroes at April 19 Operation Welcome Home
Gilbert, Ariz. – Gilbert will gather in a special tribute to three heroes during the next Operation Welcome Home ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19.
The event will honor Lieutenant Commander William Spencer, Chief Petty Officer Robert Espinoza and Gold Star Wife Barbara Arizmendez and their families. The growing program has become one of the most well attended and celebrated community event series in Gilbert’s history.
Lieutenant Commander Spence joined the Navy in 1987 and served until retirement in October 2010, during which time he served on the USS Sam Houston in Pearl Harbor, the USS Bremerton in Washington, as a nuclear engineer. He was deployed to the Persian Gulf in three times, in 2006, 2008 and 2009-2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He has earned several honors and medals including two of the National Defense Medal.
Chief Petty Officer Robert Espinoza joined the Navy in 1986, and served until January 2011, during which time he served on the USS Sacramento, the USS Barbour County and the USS Curts. He served as a leading chief petty officer, and also received several medals and commendations, including the Kuwait Liberation Medal. Spence has served as a commander on a nuclear submarine.
Gold Star Wife Barbara Arizmendez is the proud wife of Marc Arizmendez, who was killed in action in 2010 in Afghanistan, where he was serving as a U.S. Army Mechanic. Arizmendez, who was 30, is father to a daughter and son. Arizmendez has attended prior Operation Welcome Home ceremonies, in tribute to her husband and to all of our veteran families.
Operation Welcome Home begins at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 50 E. Civic Center Drive, Gilbert. A televised version will play on local Cox Channel 11 and streamed online at Gilbert Live on www.gilbertaz.gov.
About Operation Welcome Home: Operation Welcome Home are events that allow the Town of Gilbert to demonstrate a true appreciation and provide a hero’s welcome to our veterans and their families. The Town invites residents to join us to recognize the valuable service and dedication military men and women provide our country. Under the program, the Council honors these individuals with a Proclamation presented at a formal council meeting in appreciation of their commitment to our nation. The celebration for each returning serviceperson is a grand event. With the support of veterans’ organizations, service groups, employers, community leaders and mentors, the young men and women are reintroduced to our community and are thanked for their effort and sacrifice.
Learn more or fill out a nomination application at www.gilbertaz.gov/operationwelcomehome.