On Saturday, June 6, a group of community members gathered to celebrate Ivan Cregger, a local resident who has made lasting contributions to the City of Burbank and beyond.
Cregger has lived in Burbank for 63 years and is a well-loved member of the area. Immediate family and neighbors gathered under social distancing guidelines to celebrate his 99th birthday with a “Veterans’ Recognition and Honoring Ceremony.”
Cregger enlisted in the army in 1941 and became a staff sergeant during World War II. In addition to working as an aerial engineer, he participated in the Ploesti raid in Romania, one of the most dangerous flying missions of the war. Cregger was based in Egypt for 42 months before being sent to Italy and later discharged in September of 1945.
Normally during this time of year, Cregger would have invitations to participate in ceremonies honoring WWII veterans, but with the COVID-19 epidemic still being prominent these events have been canceled.
Joanne Asman is a neighbor of Cregger’s who recognized this deficit and decided to put on the celebration in his honor. Asman has known Cregger for 21 years and says his welcoming and generous nature has left great impressions on the neighborhood over the years.
“He is one of the most wonderful, compassionate men you will ever meet,” Asman said. “He will help anyone if he can. He is smart, articulate, and totally with it at 98.”
Guests at the event included violinist Debra Price, a group from the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Burbank, Lucero BP the horse wearing an American flag, and Mayor Sharon Springer, who presented Cregger with a “Certificate of Recognition” honoring him as a World War II veteran from the city of Burbank.
The ceremony honored Cregger’s service to the country and provided a fun celebration of the joy he has embodied throughout his life.
“His patriotism is beyond reproach,” Asman said. “ He is smart, loves to dance, loves people, loves to be outside in the sun. He is one in a million human being and loved by all.”