LOMA LINDA - Veterans and cars were the stars Sunday at the 22nd annual Veterans Memorial Car Show at the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center.

Gleaming chrome and shiny paint jobs and a variety of vendors transformed the front of the VA hospital throughout the day.

The 2012 show attracted 1,188 pre-1980 vehicles and more than 7,000 spectators.

The event, which raises money to go directly to veterans and active military, has raised more than $1.5million over the years, according to Maureen Schultz, a board member of Volunteers for the Veterans' Foundation.

"The foundation helps veterans take care of their needs - whatever they are," Schultz said. "Veterans can slip through the cracks.

Mario Montecino, a Vietnam Veteran from San Bernardino, left, talks with friend next to his 1953 Willy Jeep.
Mario Montecino, a Vietnam Veteran from San Bernardino, left, talks with friend next to his 1953 Willy Jeep. (James Carbone/Correspondent)
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Al Aldaco agreed.

"Veterans don't get enough attention," said Aldaco, an Air Force veteran who served between 1962 and 1966.

The Grand Terrace resident, who had his shiny 1955 Chevy on display, said the Veterans' Car Show is the best car show in the area because it's all centralized and easy to get to everything."

Earl Wolleson, a Navy veteran from Hesperia, had his black 1953 Kurtis Kraft, KK33, on display.

The showy, futuristic convertible evoked images of the Batmobile or James Bond's Aston Martin.

"It's a one-of-a-kind, with a wildfire body - it's pretty nasty," Wolleson said.

His wife, MaryAnn, said, "This is the first time we're had it where so many people can look at it and it seems to be attracting a lot of attention."

Another of the unique cars was a 1967 Mustang in a camouflage wrap, owned by John Solis, who served in 1970 as a helicopter gunner in the the central highlands of Vietnam.

"This is my first time at this show and I'm having a good time with my friends," Solis said.

Adolfo Bustamante of Colton, a Spec. 4 Army veteran who served from 1958 to 1961, says he comes to the car show every year - just to be around his buddies.

Amid all the cars and festivities, a simple sign in the parking lot said, " All gave some; Some gave all."


Reach Michel via email, call her at 909-386-3859.