top of page


Meritorious Marine Program

Established by Charles Sooter

Each month, a 1st CEB Marine is selected by the Battalion to be honored by the City of Cerritos and receive a proclamation from the mayor or city council member. The Marine and his guest receive a complimentary overnight stay at the Cerritos Sheraton Hotel, as well as gift cards provided by local restaurants. They also receive tickets to the Cerritos Performing Arts Center (CCPA) or to an Angels baseball game. Their host takes them on a mini-tour of the Cerritos Civic Center, including the Library, Sculpture Garden and occasionally the Sheriff's Station. 


Meritorious Marine for January 2023

Navy Corpsman HM2 Nicolas F. Vasta 

Supervising Corpsman of the 1st CEB Medical Aid Station


CJ Villaluna, Janet Beach, Elizabeth Kelley, Diane Searer (President of 1st CEB Adoption Committee), Sherman Kappe, Cerritos Mayor Chuong Vo, HM2 Nicolas Vasta, wife Sierra Vasta, George Ray, Daisy Lagasca, Connie Edwards and Kammie Ngo.  

Meritorious Marine for February 2023


Corporal Preston Beverly

Charlie Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion


Daisy Lagasca, Diane Searer (President of 1st CEB Adoption Committee), Cerritos Mayor Chuong Vo, Laurie Forward, Cpl Preston Beverly and girlfriend, Kammie Ngo, George Ray, Connie Edwards, Richard Alegria, Janet Beach, Elizabeth Kelley and Chuck Sooter's grandchildren.  

Meritorious Marine for March 2023


Sergeant Jonathan A. Quemuel

Alpha Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion


Daisy Lagasca, City Manager Art Gallucci, Janet Beach, Councilman Naresh Solanki, Karissa Nunez, Marine guest, Sgt Jonathan Quemuel, Mayor Chuong Vo, Arianna Nunez, Diane Searer (President of the 1st CEB Adoption Committee), Mary Anne Wood, George Ray, Laurie Forward, Allen Wood,  Elizabeth Kelley, Connie Edwards, CJ Villaluna, and Tracey Heidner. 

Meritorious Marine for April 2023


Lance Corporal Hensel Estrada-Canales 

1st Combat Engineer Battalion

Daisy Lagasca, Elizabeth Kelley, Mayor Bruce Barrows, Laurie Forward,  Janet Beach, USMC L/Cpl Diego Mendoza (guest), L/Cpl Hensel Estrada-Canales, Connie Edwards, Councilmember Naresh  Solanki, Councilmember Frank Aurelio Yokoyama, Chris Tierheimer, Mary Ann Tierheimer, George Ray, and Sherman Kappe (host).

Meritorious Marine for May 2023


Lance Corporal Brandon W. Allbrooks

Engineer Support Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion


Councilmember Chuong Vo, CA Assemblymember for District 67 Sharon Quirk-Silva, Meritorious Marine Lance Corporal Brandon Allbrooks, 1st CEB SgtMaj Marshall Cleveland, and Mayor Pro Tem Naresh Solanki.

Meritorious Marine for June 2023

US Navy Hospitalman Third Class (HM3)

Jesse T. Gilbert

George Ray, Elizabeth Kelley,  Daisy Lagasca, Mayor Bruce Barrows, HM3 Jesse T. Gilbert, daughters Eliana (7 yrs) and Nova (1 yr), Alisha Gilbert (wife), Councilmember Chuong Vo, Kammie Ngo, and El Pidio Andrion.

Meritorious Marine for July 2023


Corporal Ryan Bell

Bravo Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion

Jim & Cyndi Gunter and granddaughter Anna Leigh, Daisy Lagasca, Diane Searer (President of the 1st CEB Adoption Committee), Mayor Bruce Barrows, Cpl Alexander Taylor, Cpl Ryan Bell, Councilman Naresh Solanki, George Ray, Laurie Forward, Connie Edwards, and Elizabeth Kelley.  

Want to Host

a Meritorious Marine ?

Who may be a Host:

Individual, Business or Community Organization

Time Involved: Approximately 1 1/2 hours

When: A Saturday morning

Cost: None

1. At 11:00 am, meet Chuck Sooter, Meritorious Marine Chair, and Meritorious Marine in the Sheraton Cerritos lobby

2. Chuck Sooter explains the events to the Meritorious Marine as the Host listens

3. Walk outside to the Fountain Court with Meritorious Marine, his/her guest and Chuck Sooter for Proclamation presentation at 11:30 am by one or more Cerritos City Councilmembers

4. As Host, be recognized in a separate photo with Meritorious Marine

5. Conduct a mini-walking tour of Cerritos Civic Center with Meritorious Marine and guest. Tour includes:

a. Veterans Memorial at Civic Center

b. Library with walk through each area

c. Tour of Cerritos Sheriff's station (if previously arranged may be guided by a Deputy Sheriff)

d. Walk through Sculpture Garden

e. While seated in the Sculpture Garden with the

Meritorious Marine and guest, explain that this

concludes the formalities of the welcome to Cerritos.

Now Meritorious Marine and guest are free to enjoy

the remainder of their weekend in Cerritos.


Benefits of a Host:

Opportunity to personally meet and say thank you to a brave young man or woman who is in service to our country

Recognition as a volunteer in the community


How to be a Host: Contact Chuck Sooter, 562-860-8174

Meritorious Marine for August 2023

Corporal Jarod Crisman

Mobility Assault Company, 1st CEB

Chris Tierheimer, Barbara Winkler, Councilman Chuong Vo, Connie Edwards, George Ray, Kammie Ngo, Diane Searer (President of the 1st CEB Adoption Committee), Laurie Forward, Elizabeth Kelley, Janet Beach, Mayor Pro-Tem Naresh Solanki, Scott and Bev Demoray, SSgt Gianmarco Parnell and his wife Sgt Daniella Parnell, and Lt Maria Peurach.

Meritorious Marine for September 2023


Sergeant Tyler M. Rehbockrotunno

Alpha Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion

Kevin & Cathy Lansdale (Quit of Honor), Dustin and Brandy Rotunno, Sue Rotunno, Troy Rotunno, Sgt RehbokRotunno and wife Karolina, Rick Rotunno,  John Rotunno,  Janet Beach, Naresh Solanki (Councilman) Sherman Kappe, Connie Edwards, Diane Searer (President of the 1st CEB Adoption Committee), Laurie Forward, and Daisy Lagasca.

Meritorious Marine for October 2023

Merit Marine Oct..jpg

Lance Corporal Eric Gonzalez-Hernandez

Engineer Support Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion

Laurie Forward, Kammie Ngo, Janet Beach, Connie Edwards, Maria Skiles, Joanne Witt, Diane Searer (President of 1st CEB Adoption Committee), Sgt Maria Urquieta-Lopez, L/Cpl Eric Gonzalez-Hernandez and his father Saturnino, Councilmember Chuong Vo, George Ray, Daisy Lagasca and SgtMaj Marshall Cleveland.

Meritorious Marine for November 2023


Navy Corpsman Third Class Alejandro Hinojosto

Battalion Aid Station, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion

Mayor Pro Tem Naresh Solanki, Councilmember Chuong Vo, Mayor Bruce Barrows, Navy Corpsman Alejandro Hinojosto, LtCol Chris Kim, Councilmember Lynda Johnson and Councilmember Frank Yokoyama.

Meritorious Marine for December 2023


Corporal Omar Ivan Macias
Charlie Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion

Daisy Lagasca, Connie Edwards, Councilman Chuong Vo, Janet Beach, Cpl Brayan Martinez, Cpl Omar Marcias, Mayor Bruce Barrows, Diane Searer (President of the 1st CEB Adoption Committee), George Ray, and Laurie Forward.

Meritorious Marine for January 2024


Lance Corporal Alejandro Garcia

Engineer Support Company, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion

Councilmember Chuong Vo, Janet Beach ,Gregg Florence (Quilt of Valor Presenter), Angelica Garcia (Mother), L/Cpl  Alejandro Garcia, Jennifer Garcia (Sister), George Ray (Former Mayor), Laurie Forward, and Daisy Lagasca.

bottom of page