The Renegade Rip

Veteran’s Center groundbreaking drew a crowd near campus center

The renovation was made possible because of funds granted to the campus through the 2016 Measure J. The vote to name the new center after the original founder, Vernon Valenzuela, came at the end of October.

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Veteran’s Center groundbreaking drew a crowd near campus center

Veterans and officals attending the the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Vernon Valenzuela Veteran’s Center at Bakersfield 
College pose before having their photo taken via drone.

Veterans and officals attending the the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Vernon Valenzuela Veteran’s Center at Bakersfield College pose before having their photo taken via drone.

Issy Barrientos

Veterans and officals attending the the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Vernon Valenzuela Veteran’s Center at Bakersfield College pose before having their photo taken via drone.

Issy Barrientos

Issy Barrientos

Veterans and officals attending the the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Vernon Valenzuela Veteran’s Center at Bakersfield College pose before having their photo taken via drone.

Issy Barrientos, Photo Editor

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The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Veterans’ Resource Center at Bakersfield College brought many members of the community and local veterans to campus on Nov. 5.

The renovation was made possible because of funds granted to the campus through the 2016 Measure J. The vote to name the new center after the original founder, Vernon Valenzuela, came at the end of October.

Valenzuela’s wife, Lisa, was seated along the other notable guests at the event. 

Issy Barrientos
Vernon Valenzuela’s family participating in the groundbreaking on campus.

She said that before Valenzuela came to BC he was a “screw-up.” It was after he came to BC that he turned his life around. After the war in Vietnam, Valenzuela’s brother asked him what he wanted to do with his life. His brother asked him to go to college. The brother bought Valenzuela new clothes like shirts and ties so he could attend classes. When he got to college he found that students wore different clothes entirely and even saw a guy with long hair. He found a garbage can and threw away the new clothes.

Paul Beckworth, a professor of history and associate of the center, was the main speaker of the event. He introduced Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh. She spoke briefly, about the new building is the first capital project from Measure J. She gave said “thank you,” to those who supported Measure J. Goh then turned attention to a veteran student to sing the National Anthem.

After the National Anthem, Beckworth returned to stage to recognize notable members of the community such as BC President Sonya Christensen, Assemblyman Andy Vidak, and Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez.

Beckworth mentioned a chance meeting with Perez lead to a thousand dollar donation to the center for coffee money. “None of that decaf stuff,” said Beckworth.

Issy Barrientos
Professor Beckworth, a professor of history and director of the Veteran’s Center, speaks to the crowd during the groundbreaking ceremony held at BC.

Perez then took the stage and talked about how she was able to get the thousand dollars for the resource center as well as a cart so veteran students with disabilities could get around campus. She ended her speech by making a check to Beckworth.

He joked they would be able to get the “good coffee,” and maybe some Cremer too.

Before the veterans took their photo Beckworth closed with the remarks that at BC books, opinions, and speakers are not banned like other colleges to fit their philosophy. He ended his speech by asking what are veterans fighting for if people do not vote.

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Veteran’s Center groundbreaking drew a crowd near campus center