Assemblymember Irwin Honors Roberto S. Juarez as Veteran of the Year

Thursday, July 6, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) honored Roberto S. Juarez as the 2017 Veteran of the Year. Roberto will be recognized at a reception at the Assemblymember’s district office in Camarillo on Friday, July 7.

“During this Independence Day week, it’s important to remember those that have served our country,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. “Roberto Juarez distinguished himself not only as a daring soldier, but also as a respected member of our community. His service to his country and his commitment to ensuring that the medically underserved residents of Ventura County have access to affordable healthcare through Clinicas is why I’m honored to name Roberto Juarez as the 2017 Veteran of the Year.”

Roberto Juarez served in the Army from January of 1966 through 1970. He was deployed in Vietnam from December 1966 to December 1967. In his time in Vietnam, Juarez was a member of the elite RRF (Ready Reactionary Force) whose job was to prevent infiltration from enemy soldiers. Roberto has received several medals including the Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding admirable achievement, and the Purple Heart for an injury inflicted in a rocket powered grenade attack.

Post war, Juarez has been a healthcare champion and advocate at the state and national levels. He chaired the Seasonal and Agricultural Workers Advisory committee and the Rural Health Advisory Committee for four governors, including current California Governor Jerry Brown. In addition, Roberto has worked on funding for farm worker programs and helped establish more than 200 farm worker clinics. During the presidency of Bill Clinton, Roberto chaired a national advisory council on migrant health.

In 1978 Roberto became CEO of Clinicas Del Camino Real, Inc., an organization he took over with only five employees to its name. Juarez started with only a $60,000 annual budget and as of the last fiscal year will have grown the budget to $90 million. Today, Clinicas has thirteen health centers and two mobile units in Ventura County that help many who face language and cultural barriers as well as financial ones. Clinicas has grown to over 800 employees and helps approximately 100,000 patients seeking medical, dental, optical, preventative, and mental healthcare.

Roberto Juarez was acknowledged at a ceremony at the Capitol on Wednesday, June 21.