Memorial on Gold State Highway in Bakersfield to honor Vernon P. Valenzuela

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A local veteran who was known as the Godfather of veterans will be memorialized by a sign dedicated in his honor on Golden State Highway.

A portion of Golden State Highway, from F Street to Q Street will be dedicated as the Vernon P. Valenzuela Memorial Highway.

This section of the highway passes through the Bakersfield Vet Center that Valenzuela was instrumental in opening in 2009.

Valenzuela, who lived his life dedicated to other veterans, passed away in March 2012.

"This is a reminder to us veterans and the community that Vernon's legacy continues. He has helped so many people  in our community," said Jenny Frank from the Bakersfield Vet Center.

Valenzuela was born and raised in Kern County. In 1967 he enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Vietnam where he received a Purple Heart.

Vernon returned to Kern County and trained to become a marriage and family therapist.

He dedicated his career to serving veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and was the first team leader for the Bakersfield Vet Center.

The public is invited to attend the highway dedication ceremony that will take place Saturday, December 14 at 2 p.m. at the Bakersfield Vet Center, 1110 Golden State Highway.

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