OC Supervisor Katrina Foley Honors Veterans at Third Annual Veterans of the Year Awards

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley hosted her third annual Veterans of the Year Awards on Thursday, November 9, 2023 at the Dana Point Women’s Club, where she honored veterans from across the Fifth District.  

OC Supervisor Katrina Foley Honors Veterans at Third Annual Veterans of the Year Awards

“Congratulations to the 2023 Fifth District Veterans of the Year Awardees,” said Supervisor Foley. “The fifth district is home to many outstanding veterans who served our nation and now continue to serve our county. I’m honored to recognize this year’s honorees who go above and beyond to support our veteran community.”  

“As County Supervisor, I look forward to continuing to work with the veteran community to help connect veterans with employers, support veteran businesses, and ensure the 21 veterans sleeping on the streets of the 5th District find housing and receive the full benefits and care they earned by serving our country and protecting our freedoms,” added Supervisor Foley. 

In addition to recognizing the awardees, the awards ceremony featured a bugle performance from Larry Icenogle of Bugles Across America, a bagpipes performance from Greg Elliott, veteran of the US Marine Corps, and remarks from County of Orange Veteran Services Officer Eric Ensley.  

Supervisor Foley recognized the following veterans from cities across the Fifth District: 

Aliso Viejo – Tony Faulkner 

Faulkner served in the United States Marine Corps for 14 years as an Air Wing Operations Chief, with his service taking him to Korea, Japan, the Philippines and more. He went on to serve 8 more years in the United States Air Force Reserves, earning the rank of Tech Sergeant before his retirement.   

Today, Faulkner supervises 130 real estate agents, providing them with full-service support and training including real estate law, code of ethics, contract revisions and disclosure laws.   

Costa Mesa – Greg Elliott 

Greg Elliott served in the United States Marine Corps from 1959 onboard the USS Oriskany until he left the service in 1961. Elliott learned how to play the bagpipes and joined the 42nd Regiment of the Black Watch onboard the Queen Mary, and played in New York City following the 9/11 attacks  

Elliott dedicated more than 30 years of his life to playing for hundreds of Burials at Sea in memory of police, fire and military completely free of charge. 

Dana Point – Patricia “Patti” Holliday 

Patricia “Patti” Holliday joined the United States Army in 1989 and served in active duty for 8 years before serving in the National Guard for 13 more years until her retirement in 2010. She served as a Flight Medic, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant, and participated as a member of a Space Shuttle recovery mission team.  

Holliday continued to serve her community as a Deputy Sheriff in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for nearly 19 years.   

Irvine – Dr. Dani Molina 

Dr. Dani Molina served in the United States Army for four years on active duty as a radio operator and participated in the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom until his honorable discharge as a specialist. He became the first in his family to attend college and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Latin American & Latino Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz before earning his Master’s & Ph.D. in higher education from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Dr. Molina continues to serve his community by aiding in obtaining educational benefits to which veterans are entitled & resources to assist veteran students in navigating their transition to civilian and student life. 

Laguna Beach – Arnie Silverman 

Arnold Silverman served in the United States Army as part of the 35th Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division, which saw action in the Korean War from 1951 – 1953. He continues to serve his community by volunteering at the Laguna Beach Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5868 and American Legion Post 222.  

Additionally, Silverman mentors veterans at the Orange County Combat Veterans Court and assists recovering active-duty Marines at the Wounded Warriors Battalion at Camp Pendleton.  

Laguna Niguel – Ernesto Medrano 

Ernesto Medrano is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Medrano serves as the Executive Secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council, the umbrella organization of 48 local unions and district councils representing more than 150,000 skilled laborers.   

Medrano continues to serve his community by fighting for the rights of tradesmen and women in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. 

Newport Beach – Nick Saifan, Jr. 

Nick Saifan, Jr. served our nation in the United States Armed Forces for 24 years. He joined the United States Navy immediately out of high school before joining the ranks of the United States Army before his retirement in 2008. 

Saifan continues to serve the community by volunteering for the American Legion 291 Newport Beach, and providing solutions to the housing crisis through the developments of his company, International Export & Government Services, Corporation.  

San Clemente – Nelson Coburn 

Nelson Coburn served in the United States Marine Corps from 1998 – 2020, earning the rank of 1st Sergeant. He continues to serve his community as the Commandant for the Marine Corps League South Coast Detachment in San Clemente.   

Coburn assists fellow veterans by working to increase sustainable homeownership, financial-literacy education, VA loan awareness and economic opportunities as the Vice President of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals Orange County.   

San Juan Capistrano – Mayor Howard Hart 

Mayor Howard Hart served in the United States Navy as a Naval Intelligence Officer for thirty years before his retirement as a Captain in 2017. He is a survivor of the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon and earned the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.   

Mayor Hart now serves the City of San Juan Capistrano as Mayor.