- Video shows the official dedication of the Gilbert Mitchell memorial bench
- Gilbert Mitchell served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, and he is the only MIA from Tehachapi
- His service and sacrifice are forever honored outside of the Tehachapi American Legion Post 221
On Veteran’s Day, community members and veterans in the area gathered around the American Legion post to make sure that Gilbert Mitchell, Tehachapi’s only MIA, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, will be remembered forever.
“It’s a beautiful day in Tehachapi and it’s a beautiful day to honor one of our local heroes,” Linda Stivers said.
Linda Stivers grew up going to school with Gilbert, and they graduated high school together in 1959.
"He, in our senior class, he was voted most likely to succeed," Stivers said. "I remember him, as we all grew up together, as being very dependable and a very well-mannered young man."
It’s been a long time since we lost him, and there were times that I was afraid that he might be forgotten, but this proves that I was wrong.
Gilbert Mitchell grew up in Tehachapi before joining the navy in 1966. The community honored him with a bench outside of the American Legion post. The bench was donated by Canvus, a company based in Ohio that recycles and repurposes old wind turbine blades.
His younger brother, Robert Mitchell, came to the ceremony to remember his brother.
“My older brother and I, we were best buddies,” said Mitchell.
Growing up in Tehachapi, Mitchell said the community holds a special place in his and his family’s hearts.
“It’s been an honor for me to have this kind of a turn out in memory of my brother. It’s been a long time since we lost him, and there were times that I was afraid that he might be forgotten, but this proves that I was wrong,” Mitchell said.
The bench will remain outside of the American Legion in Tehachapi, where people take a moment to reflect on Gilbert Mitchell’s life and the sacrifice he made. 23ABC originally reported on the dedication earlier in the fall.
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