SANTA CRUZ -- Ahead of Veterans Day on Monday, Santa Cruz city leaders continued the second year of a tradition to honor city employees who served in the armed forces.
On the brick patio outside Santa Cruz City Hall on Thursday, Mayor Don Lane and a few dozen veterans, firefighters and city and county employees watched the Santa Cruz police Honor Guard march and present flags during the event.
An officer played "The Star Spangled Banner" on a trumpet, and Lane thanked he employees for their dual service to the United States and the city.
There are 24 military veterans who work for the city of Santa Cruz, said Santa Cruz police spokesman Zach Friend.
"I think this is a great event to honor all the people who served," said Santa Cruz police Sgt. Mike Harms, a member of the Honor Guard.
Police Sgt. David Perry and officer Alec Ganzel also served in the Marine Corps and participated in the honor guard.
Ganzel, 28, was a corporal in the Marines from 2002-2006. He served in Afghanistan, injured his leg and retired from service.
As he was leaving the military and rehabilitating his leg, he applied for a position with Santa Cruz police.
He said he didn't set out to be a police officer before he joined the military, "it seemed like an easy transition," after his military service, Ganzel said.
He said he appreciated the city ceremony to recognize their efforts -- which started in 2011 when Ryan Coonerty was
"It's nice to meet fellow veterans and share the day with them," said Ganzel.
Lane said he hoped the ceremony would be an annual tradition.
"Thank you for your service to the armed forces and thank you for your service to Santa Cruz," Lane told the group.
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