(Ontario, CA.) Recently, local business professionals, volunteers, service professionals and community activists from throughout the Inland Empire joined forces to provide ten lucky military couples with a free wedding with all the glitz and glamour that made the day a memorable one.
It was an example of generosity at its finest. Donations came in the form of wedding dresses, tuxedos, flowers, limos and a dinner reception for 600. All done to give these couples, who have sacrificed so much, a heartfelt “thank you.”
Going by the name Community Cupid, everything was provided for the brides and grooms.
“The call went out to hundreds of Inland Empire entrepreneurs, volunteers, service professionals and community activists, asking them to dedicate the last ten weeks to showing their gratitude to military men and women with more than the usual salute,” said Bill Anthony, publisher of the Inland Empire Business Journal, who along with Ryan Orr, founder of Operation Community Cares, Inc., created Community Cupid.
Selected to receive the nuptials were ten soldiers who either recently returned from or will soon be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
The couples who received the outpouring of appreciation are:
- Erika Acevedo and Victor Martinez, United State Marine Corps. Corporal – Los Angeles, CA.
- Melissa (Moore) Rodriguez and Emerson Rodriguez, United States Marine Corps. Lance Corporal.
- David Castillo and Maritza Alvarado United States Marine Corps. Sergeant – Rosamond, CA.
- Alison Bailey and Sean Bailey, U.S Navy, Senior Chief Petty Officer – San Clemente, CA.
- Jayline Dugwem and Kevius Tamagyow, United States Marine Corps, Private First Class of Vista, CA.
- Rosa Rivera and Anthony Stewart Roldan, United States Marine Corps. Lance Corporal – Long Beach, CA.
- Raymond Jennings and Jennifer E. Donnely, U.S. Coast Guard, Second Class Marine Science Technician – Long Beach, CA.
- Australia Herrera and Jose G. Herrera, United States Marine Corps. Sergeant – Camp Pendleton, CA
- Thomas Wright, Jr., and Rocel Basco United States Marine Corps. Lance Corporal
“This could and would not happen without a great many people so graciously willing to volunteer their time, services, products and money to help these brides and grooms,” said Anthony. “The response has been simply amazing.”
Beginning with a parade down Haven Avenue, the procession went south to Inland Empire Boulevard in Ontario and headed east to the Ontario Airport Hilton Hotel, where the ceremony took place. Various pastors performed the weddings with music provided by the Riverside Lyric Opera, supplying the event with the romance and memories found in a single wedding.
In fact, couples and their bridesmaids and groomsmen arrived in a limo. Each wedding party then took turns walking down a rose petal-strewn walkway where their groom was waiting for them.
The ceremony was followed by a reception with Blues Hall of Fame artist Darrell Mansfield headlining the entertainment, which included Them Novus, a band performing 1980s to contemporary music and featuring vocalist/bassist Devin Vasquez, guitarist Johnny G and drummer/vocalist Mark Romans; The Lindy Sisters, a trio performing 1940s songs in the style of The McGuire and Andrews sisters; and talented teen and Upland High School graduate Tim Rotollo on baby grand piano.
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