By Denise Ortuno Neil

Veterans Day is a day of remembrance, when we as a country honor the men and women who served our country to insure our freedom. On Saturday, November 9th Susie Del Toro & Ladies Auxiliary VFW in cooperation with the City of Coachella, will put on the 2nd Annual Veterans Day Breakfast to honor those who served.

Back in 1989, Susie Del Toro’s husband, Trino Del Toro, decided that it was time to have his home town honor those who fought in the Vietnam War. Del Toro served as a Staff Sargeant in the war, and when he returned home from it in 1968, there were no parades, accolades or fanfare. He wasn’t even allowed to wear his uniform home, as the tensions were running high from people who opposed the war. The public failed to realize what the soldiers had endured, and took their political anger out on the very people they should have embraced.

Del Toro took matters into his own hands and forged ahead with his vision to erect a memorial park in Coachella. In August of 1989, his vision came to fruition and the Vietnam Veterans Park on 5th Avenue and Vine Street in Coachella was unveiled. Del Toro and others who had sacrificed finally got the honor that they deserved.


In 1993, the park was renamed Veterans Park to be more inclusive to all soldiers from every war, not just those from Vietnam.

Del Toro passed away two years ago, and left a profound imprint behind. Not only did he fight in a controversial war, but he also established a memorial park for those who fought in it. Susie Del Toro has now moved forward with her husband’s vision and continues to honor veterans with the 2nd Annual Veterans Day Breakfast held at the park.

The breakfast is in conjunction with the City of Coachella Veterans Day 5K Walk/Run. The event benefits local veterans’ organizations. The entrance fee for the Walk/Run is $15 for adults and $10 for children and includes a T-shirt and of course breakfast. Sign in starts at 6am with the actual race time at 7am.

The pancake breakfast starts at 9am and will include veteran’s displays, raffles, music and informational booths plus much more and is free to the public. Special guests at the event include the Mayor of Coachella Eddie Garcia and District Director Greg Rodriguez. Del Toro will be featuring a video at the event that chronicles the building of the memorial park back in 1989. She will also be displaying flags for fallen soldiers. The flags are displayed in cities across the country but have yet to be flown in the Coachella Valley. The flags honor a soldier with their photo and name. She will have sample flags for the public to look at and they can also order a flag that will later be flown from 6th street in Coachella.

Veterans Day is a special day to honor and give thanks to those who laid and lost their lives for their country. The Veterans Park in Coachella stands as one man’s legacy to pay tribute to those soldiers, and is a place where we as a community can congregate and honor them as well.

For more information about the Veterans Day Breakfast, contact Susie Del Toro at 760-567-0706