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May 30th is Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day- a time reserved to honor those who have fought and died for the freedoms we exercise. Many soldiers have paid for our liberties with their lives and it is our honor at Buncombe County Veterans Services to serve their families on Memorial Day and every day.
To serve our Veterans and their families better, we have added a new staff member to the Veterans Services Team. “We are fortunate to welcome Ivan Sarabia to our staff,” says Heath Smith, Director of Veterans Services for Buncombe County HHS. “His years of experience in Veterans Affairs and Patient Advocacy made him an exceptional choice for this role and we are proud to have him on our team.”
Ivan relocated to Buncombe County after establishing himself as an exceptional Veterans Services Officer and Patient Advocate in several states around the region. His motivation to serve the Veteran community is grounded in his personal military experience. Ivan is an Army Veteran with the 101st Airborne Division in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. He served as a Combat Engineer and served a tour in Afghanistan. “My time in the Army is something I look back on fondly and I’m thankful for the lifelong friendships and lessons I learned while serving,” Ivan says. “However, after leaving the military I faced many hurdles adjusting back to civilian life. Luckily, I was able to connect with other Veterans and healthcare providers at the VA who helped me navigate the benefits that were available to smooth that transition. These experiences fueled my desire and passion to pursue a career in which I could help fellow Veterans.”
Buncombe County is committed to honoring fallen soldiers, veterans, and their families and we want to make sure everyone in our community has a chance to honor them as well. Join the Buncombe Community in solidarity at the following events taking place in our county this Memorial Day.
Heath Smith, Veteran Services Director for Buncombe County Health and Human Services, is participating in the Memorial Day program for the Mayor's Veterans Council. The event will take place on May 30, 2022, at 3 p.m. at Pack Square Park. The keynote speaker will be Spencer Ellis Hardaway, a retired Army Chaplain who received the Bronze Star and served in Iraq from 2009 to 2010.
Additionally, you can pay tribute to our heroes at the Western North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain. The sight of 5,700+ graves, each marked with an American flag, is striking and serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made to secure our rights. The Memorial Day service takes place at 10 AM on Monday, May 30.