The County’s Veterans Commission today a honored U.S. Marine and former firefighter as the San Mateo County “Veteran of the Year.”
George Smith was honored before 250 attendees during the 7th annual Veterans Recognition Event for going “above and beyond” in service to his community.
Wendy Weller and Andrew Trapani were honored as Patriots of the Year and Veterans Surf Alliance was recognized as Enterprise of the Year during the event at a Millbrae ballroom. Congresswoman Jackie Speier received an award for Lifetime Achievement.
“All of us owe a great debt of gratitude to all who serve their country,” said Warren Slocum, a member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and an Army veteran. “These individuals are truly remarkable for giving so much to their country and for continuing to give so much to their community.”
The 2022 honorees are:
VETERAN OF THE YEAR: George Smith: Smith is the embodiment of duty and service – first as veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps where he served honorably in Vietnam in 1966.
After his Marine Corps service, Smith became a San Mateo firefighter and a volunteer working on behalf of veterans and veteran causes. He has been active in the American Legion Post 105 in Redwood City, where he serves as post commander, and the American Legion Riders and Marine Corps League.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith worked to ensure final honors for veterans were given at the funerals of all Marines in San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin and Sacramento counties when requested. He also served on the San Mateo County Veterans Commission.
PATRIOTS OF THE YEAR: Wendy Weller and Andrew Trapani: Weller and Trapani embody the patriot spirit as volunteers for veterans and their families. They have participated in over 148 Final Honors funerals for veterans and their families, helping them during their time of grief.
As members of the Patriot Guard Riders, Warrior Watch Riders and the American Legion Riders, they have provided escort to veterans to their final resting place, honoring them with a flag line at the end. they volunteer about 1200 hours a year for this service to veterans.
ENTERPRISE OF THE YEAR: Veterans Surf Alliance: With a chapter that meets at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, this volunteer-run nonprofit creates fellowship and community among veterans through surfing, easing the transition between military service and civilian living.
They teach, coach and mentor veterans to surf and be respected members of their communities, providing access to surfboards, vital equipment, routine surf meetups and annual events.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Congresswoman Jackie Speier: Speier is in the last year of a storied career representing San Mateo County.
In Congress, she is the chair of the Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, advancing numerous initiatives to ensure the military finds and keeps the most qualified individuals, provides their families with needed assistance, and adequately compensates those harmed in the line of duty.
About the Annual Veterans Recognition Event
This is a time to celebrate the dedication of a veteran, a non-veteran, and an enterprise which all demonstrate exceptional service to veterans and the veteran community in San Mateo County.
The San Mateo County Veterans Commission was established by the Board of Supervisors in June 2015 with the mission to promote programs and policies that address the unmet needs of veterans in San Mateo County. The Commission is supported by the Veterans Services Office, which helps veterans access state and federal benefits that they and their family are entitled to. This work is in turn supported by the Measure K local half-cent sales tax.