Jun 11, 2010 8:02 PM
"He was an icon in this community and his passing is gonna leave a hole in the heart of the community" stated Chico Police Chief Mike Maloney. Chico's ultimate patriot, Larry Juanarena has lost his brave battle with brain cancer. His passing devastates all who knew him. "Both inwardly and outwardly one of the most patriotic gentlemen I've ever ran across in my entire life" explained longtime friend Larry Wahl. Maloney also stated that "his passing truly represented a blow, it took the wind out of me"
Juanarena is best known for his dedicated work and fundraising efforts. He frequently held benefits to help injured police officers and their families, P.O.W's and local veterans groups. "We had an officer that was shot in the line of duty, and Larry did not hesitate to step up to the plate and pull together a community fundraiser to support that officer" said Maloney.
The air force veteran was the driving force behind the American flags that still fly throughout Chico on all patriotic holidays. He and his wife owned Pat and Larry's Steakhouse for more than 30 years. He used his love for food to show his love for veterans, doing things like spear-heading the annual red white and blue dinners. "He was particularly proud of his country, proud of the military and he loved everything about those who served their country" stated Wahl. Maloney adds "No matter what the cause, I don't know that Larry's a guy that ever said no to anybody".Juanarena has been recognized by Congress, the State Legislature, Veterans of Foreign Wars and many local law enforcement agencies. Through it all, he never asked for a single thing in return. "He was a very humble guy, he wasn't boisterous, he was never looking for credit, it was never about him, it was always about showing support" Maloney said.