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Independent Voice

Cecil Dennings is Veteran of the Year

Mar 13, 2024 10:26AM ● By Debra Dingman
Veteran of the Year, Cecil Dennings, waves thanks to the audience at last Saturday's Celebrate Dixon event. Photo by Nicolas Brown

DIXON, CA (MPG) - In the days that men didn’t talk about wars or being in the military, somehow the sense of duty was instilled by Cecil Dennings’ father and all of his brothers went into the service. He went into the Marines and two brothers went into the Army. One even retired from 20 years of service.

The legacy continued with Dennings oldest grandson, Robert Delagrande-Soliz serving four years in the Army and another grandson, Cory Nedler, is in the Army now.

Dennings’s father served in World War II, receiving not only the Bronze Star but also a Purple Heart. When the Americans were freeing the prisoners at Dachau, the elder Dennings was shot.

“The bullet went in one side and out the other,” said Cecil, who was in the Marines. “He was in an anti-tank company in France and there was a prison camp where the unit was there to free the prisoners but ran into machine gun nets. It was January 15, 1945.” Cecil knows these things because he was contacted by an author doing research for a history book. It also helps that his wife, Cecilia, is a Genealogist.

“I’m very proud of my husband and I encourage and support all he does,” she said. Cecilia wasn’t the only one who felt Dennings was more than deserving of the honor he was bestowed Saturday night of Veteran of the Year at the Chamber’s Celebrate Dixon event.

Dennings has been an active member of the VFW since 1985 and transferred to the Dixon Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8151 in 2016 and has been active in leading the Dixon May Fair Parade where there are 15 flags representing every branch of America's military service including the Merchant Marines and the National Guard, he said.

He was the VFW District Commander in 1920-21 for District 16

“I help do the honor guard at the first home games of Dixon High School football and Water Polo,” he added. He also judges the Voice of Democracy essay contest at the high school and the Patriot Pens at the middle school.

He is a Gold Life member of the American Legion and the Marine Corp attachment in Vacaville. He is also a member of an elite group of VFW military order Cootie which is similar to the Shriners. They visit veterans in the hospital.

His nomination read: Cecil Dennings entered the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 18 from his home state of Michigan. After training, he was assigned to the USS Ranger CVA61. He served two combat support deployments in 1972 and 1973. He participated in almost daily aircraft combat support and gunnery assistance positions as the carrier positioned itself along the coast near Haiphong, Vietnam. By the time of his discharge in 1975, he had earned many outstanding service awards along with the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon.

Since 1985, Cecil has represented VFW at Carrollton, MI, Stockton, CA and finally here in Dixon since 2016. He has served in numerous leadership positions in Stockton for six years and now as Post Commander for Dixon the past three. He was also past District Commander supervising VFW posts in the Northern California region while also serving as District Inspector and District Instructor. During his tenure, he was awarded the All-American recognition given to only a handful of District Commanders in the state and I the nation.

Cecil has been a relentless force for fundraising in support of our veterans including red poppy drives which raises tens of thousands of dollars for Dixon Family Services, Veterans Fund, the Dixon Transitional Veteran Homes, and the Travis AFB Fisher House located at the medical center on Travis AFB. He helps fellow veterans with transportation whenever they need it and long assisted with the Wreaths Across America.