The community of Santa Barbara stood tall last week at a fundraiser to honor a true American hero, Louis Langlais and his family, at the weekly Farmers Market downtown on State Street and during an intimate gathering at the nearby Blue Agave restaurant.
The Santa Barbara High School graduate was graced with overwhelming support from community members and market shoppers who shared kind words and grateful compensation to the family of Langlais, who was survived by a wife, Anya, and two young boys, Gabe and Jack.
A booth setup at the corner of State and Cota streets brought throngs of well-wishers who recognized the ultimate sacrifice given to our country by Langlais and his fellow servicemen.
The booth space wasn’t large, but it was prominent in the minds of many locals who showed respect and support for this extraordinary man and his family.
A small gathering took place simultaneously in the nearby lounge of the Blue Agave restaurant, where words were shared about an extraordinary man with multiple talents and hobbies, including scuba diving, fishing, surfing and rock climbing.
The Langlais family’s passion for the outdoors reinforced his upbringing in Santa Barbara, and the casual nature of the event was true to form and style.
Larry Vosovic, a Vietnam War veteran who served in the 101st Airborne Division and whose son attended UCSB before joining the Special Forces 82nd Airborne Division, shared his support for Langlais at the Blue Agave.
“I know there are thousands of people like Lou who have sacrificed a lot so that you and I can sit 24/7 and watch television or do what ever we do,” Vosovic said. “There are people putting their lives on the line trying to make the world a better place.”
Strong community support raised $20,000 at the Farmers Market event that kicked off two weeks of events in Santa Barbara honoring the fallen hero and his family.
The Santa Barbara Navy League also hosted a booth last weekend at the Harbor Festival to accept donations, and the support will continue Thursday, Oct. 20 at a business conference breakfast from 7:30 to 10 a.m. hosted by The Bank of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.
“We got together with Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce President Steve Cushman about taking the economic summit that we were going to do for free and implementing a $20 entry fee and donating 100 percent of the proceeds to the family of Louis Langlais,” said Eloy Ortega, CEO of The Bank of Santa Barbara.
The Global Economy Impacts on Regional Business summit will include a recognized expert on the Pacific Rim economy, Dr. Sung Won Sohn, and a senior Federal Reserve economist, Gary Zimmerman, discussing the changing dynamic and its impact on the local area with a new perspective on how things happening halfway around the globe influence local businesses.
Tony Duynstee, volunteer ambassador to the Navy SEAL Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the men and women of the Naval Special Warfare community and their families when in need, summed up the spirit of all these fundraising efforts.
“The SEALs have enough to worry about overseas risking their lives, and we want to make sure that they know and the families know that we have their backs when they return to the States,” he said.
The Farmers Market fundraiser was produced by the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce with the Santa Barbara Navy League, the Farmers Market, Davies and The Bank of Santa Barbara.