Calen Cortamasch is remembered by some of his childhood friends as one of the boys who played touch football in the neighborhood. Others recall Cortamasch, along with his pals Loren Engstrom and John Patrick Lee, as a familiar face that worked at Ralphs grocery store in La Crescenta.
But on Monday morning, with the American flag hanging at half staff, old friends remembered these three former residents of the Crescenta Valley for one thing: being soldiers.
Cortamasch, Engstrom and Lee, all three of them war veterans from the La Cañada-Crescenta Valley, fought and died in Vietnam.
"They left their beloved valley and families to serve in Vietnam, never to return," said Charles Beatty, master of ceremonies of this year's Memorial Day service in Montrose, sponsored by the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce and Montrose Shopping Park Assn.