Success & Service: Korean War vet Johnson honored

Bee Staff ReportsJune 28, 2014 

Army veteran Lawrence “Larry” Johnson is the 12th Assembly District’s 2014 Veteran of the Year, Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, has announced.

Olsen and Johnson joined other veterans and elected officials for the seventh annual Veteran of the Year Recognition Luncheon last week, at the Convention Center in Sacramento, where representatives honored the veterans for their selfless service to country.

After returning from Korea in 1952, Johnson served as deacon at Trinity Presbyterian Memorial Church and as a member of its board and on its finance committee. Johnson also serves on the board of directors for several affordable housing facilities in Modesto and represents veterans as a member of the Stanislaus County Department on Aging. He is president of Korean War Veterans Chapter 203 and an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 13.

Johnson is a recipient of the Hiram Award, the highest honor a California Mason can receive.

Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, honored Cassandra Helmrick as the Veteran of the Year for the 21st Assembly District. Helmrick, of Los Banos, served in the Navy during Operation Desert Storm and was honorably discharged in 1994.

Columbia picks parade dignitaries

Larry Baumgardner, a longtime docent, volunteer and engineer/architect/builder of the Columbia Diggins 1852 Tent Town, has been named grand marshal for the Glorious Fourth celebration parade at Columbia State Historic Park. Baumgardner also has participated in many re-enactments in Columbia and has painted most of the signs around town. And Carolyn Prindle will be the event’s Goddess of Liberty. Prindle is well-known for her detailed Gold Rush-era costumes and her dedication to the state park. She and her husband, Bill, moved to Columbia in 2002; they honeymooned in Columbia 51 years ago.

The Goddess of Liberty is a Columbia Fourth of July tradition going back to the 19th century and was resurrected in 2012.

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce welcomes all to march behind the grand marshal and Goddess of Liberty in the July Fourth parade. “Decorate yourself and your kids, your group, your pets (under 120 pounds), your bicycle, or your vehicle (vintage 1964 or older), join the parade and compete for prizes,” the chamber says.

Registration begins at 10 a.m. in front of the Fallon Theatre in Columbia. The parade begins at noon.

Health center honored

Modesto’s Pinnacle Health Center, run by Dr. Priti Modi, earned a 2014 California Quality Improvement Recognition Award from Health Services Advisory Group of California, a Medicare quality improvement organization. It is one of 57 such awards conferred in the state. The organization reviewed the performance of physician providers participating in quality improvement efforts during the past year. The review included effective use of health information technology, care management and participation in data reporting initiatives.

CASA fundraiser

Court Appointed Special Advocates is getting a financial boost from food delivery business Schwan’s, which will donate 20 percent of product sales and 40 percent of e-certificate sales to the organization, which advocates for foster children. The campaign will run through Aug. 11, after which Schwan’s will donate 5 percent of all orders to CASA throughout the remainder of the year. Supporters can go to and enter “CASA of Stanislaus County ID #10731” to find the campaign and place orders online. Or they can order by phone at (855) 870-7208 and provide campaign ID #10731 and fundraising ID #28638.

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