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Local military recognized at City Hall memorial

Staff Writer

BARSTOW • As she held his family picture close, Rebecca Ruiz energetically pointed to her son's name, Rafael Machuca, on a banner at the City Hall memorial unveil Monday evening.

“I’m really proud of my son,” she said. “I can’t say enough about him.”

Machuca was an Army soldier in Afghanistan when he lost his eye in 2010. His third week in the country he was also hit with rocket shrapnel in the groin and told the possibility of having children was uncertain.

“I feel that not just for my son, but for all our soldiers, it’s such a great thing that Barstow can do for them,” Ruiz said, as she stood with many mothers and relatives supporting Barstow military and veterans in the city’s new banner and cement paver display at City Hall.

Siblings, spouses and parents of current military and veterans were all in attendance, and many without their loved ones close by.

“It’s good to acknowledge everybody’s efforts and all of the families efforts,” Barstow resident Robert Burnau said.

His brother is currently serving in the Navy in Japan, and Burnau said he misses him every day.

City officials said they plan to add more names and individual banners with photos of current active duty military to the display by early 2013.

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