Community Memorial Day Parade Begins at 10 a. m. Saturday

by Tony Farina

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Niagara Falls Councilmen Kenny Tompkins and Ezra Scott Jr., the Niagara Falls Memorial Day Parade will launch the holiday weekend on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at City Market and continue down Pine Avenue, eventually concluding at the Niagara Falls Veterans Memorial where a ceremony will be held.

Councilman Kenny Thompkins proved up the spirit of Niagara Falls. When Mayor Paul Dyster could not find a few thousand dollars to fund the Memorial Day Parade, [the mayor had other important funding commitments] Thompkins, along with Councilman Ezra Scott, got it done through the people. This will be a parade to remember since the funds to put it on did not come from government coercion and force [taxation] but through the voluntary and joyful contributions of the people who want the parade to take place. This is the true spirit of America.

Councilman Kenny Thompkins proved up the spirit of Niagara Falls. When Mayor Paul Dyster could not find a few thousand dollars to fund the Memorial Day Parade, [the mayor had other important funding commitments] Thompkins, along with Councilman Ezra Scott, got it done through the people. This will be a parade to remember since the funds to put it on did not come from government coercion and force [taxation] but through the voluntary and joyful contributions of the people who want the parade to take place. This is the true spirit of America.

There was a brief moment last March when reports surfaced that due to a lack of city funding, there would be no Memorial Day Parade this year.  Fortunately, Tompkins, Scott, and retired City Court Judge Angelo Morinello stepped forward with Morinello becoming the parade’s prime sponsor.  Many others also stepped forward as well, and the parade has been re-christened the Community Memorial Day Parade.

In all, more than $7,000 was raised to help pay for bands and other parade expenses and there were also donations for water, vests, and other needed items to complete the package.

More than 63 units have registered to participate in the parade and that includes color guards, equestrian units, several local organizations, veteran’s groups, military groups, police and fire departments and their equipment, Hogs for Heroes, the SPCA’s Hounds and Heroes, and much, much more.

Feature attractions include The Ghost Riders Drum and Bugle Corps, the Lew Custode Dixieland Band, Mackenzie Highlanders, Buffalo Bagpipe Band Club, Iroquois Indian Marching Band, the Buffalo Gordon Highlanders, and the Niagara Falls High School Marching Band.

Four decorated World War II veterans will serve as grand marshals.  They are Harvey Albond, aerial photographer’s mate, U. S. Navy; William Kresman, first lieutenant, U. S. Army; and brothers John and Chester Gawel.  John, 97, was a private in the Marine Corps and brother Chester, 93, was a fireman first class in the U. S. Navy.

Harvey Albond              ...Navy vet is one of four parade grand marshals

Harvey Albond
…Navy vet is one of four parade grand marshals

Parade visitors are asked to help our troops overseas by bringing new and packaged items like socks, shaving cream, liquid soap, and much more which will be collected by volunteers along the Pine Avenue parade route.  Drop off bins will also be located at Pine Pharmacy in the City Market.

People seeking more information can contact Councilman Tompkins at 716-940-7092 or Kenny.Tompkins@Yahoo.com.  There is also much more information available at www.NFnyvetsparade.org. 

The organizers issued a special thanks to volunteers and sponsors, specifically mentioning the Niagara Falls Police and Fire Departments and the Dept. of Public Works for going above and beyond their duty to make sure everyone has a safe and wonderful time at this year’s parade.

Chester Gawel              ...Navy vet is one of four parade grand marshals along with brother John

Chester Gawel
…Navy vet is one of four parade grand marshals along with brother John

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