History of the 1st CEB Adoption Committee

Tim Sloat, a former Marine, initiated the Adoption of Marine Corps battalions, stationed at Camp Pendleton when he arranged for the city of Newport Beach to adopt the battalion he served with in Vietnam, 1st Battation/1st Marines. As a result of the success of that program, other battalions at Camp Pendleton and local cities expressed an interest in participating in a similar adoption program. By 2005, many cities had successfully adopted Marine Corps battalions.

Charles Sooter, a personal friend of Tim Sloat and fellow 2nd Lieutenant who also served with him in the 1st Battalion/1st Marines in Vietnam, took notice of the success of these adoptions and began to explore whether the City of Cerritos was suited to adopt a Marine Corps battalion from Camp Pendleton, since it was only a 45-50 minute drivie away. Sooter contacted city officials, Assistant City Manager Kathy Matsumoto and then-Mayor, Paul Bowlen, who were interested in exploring the feasibility of an adoption.

At the City Council meeting of January 22, 2007, Sloat and Sooter presented a proposal for adoption. Major Dwyer, Master Sergeant Mack, and Chief Naval Officer Lewis attended in uniform to introduce the city to the 1st CEB and expressed an interest in formalizing an Adoption relationship with the city. The City Council voted unanimously to proceed to the next step, which the city staff recommended as forming an Adoption Committee, developing a set of organizational bylaws, and achieving non-profit status with the IRS (501c3).

It was the intention of the City of Cerritos that the Adoption Committee be independent, non-political, self-sustaining, and self-operating. The Adoption Committee, City Council, and city staff worked together over the next several years, during which all parties developed a close working relationship, partnership, and teamwork.

At the January 22 City Council meeting, Sooter was granted permission to begin the formation of the 1st CEB Adoption Committee and work with the city's legal team to develop the bylaws for attainment of non-profit status. Announcements were made in the Los Cerritos Community News regarding the pending Adoption and inviting people interested to contact Sooter. After several members joined, the 1st CEB Adoption Committee selected directors and formulated its bylaws.

Even before the City of Cerritos formally adopted the 1st CEB Adoption Committee, its members began plans for several service programs to support the Marines and Sailors. These included the Meritorious Marine Program, Letters to Marines, Care Packages and a Car Wash. Committee members also set up booths at the Spring Festival and Let Freedom Ring 4th of July celebration.

The City Council moved to formally adopt the Marines and Sailors of the 1st CEB on Veterans Day, November 11, 2007, when the city and the 1st CEB exchanged proclamations. Sooter became the first president of the Adoption Committee, and Kathy Matsumoto volunteered to be the city's representation and liaison for the city.