In perhaps his finest hour in his first year as a Niagara
Falls city councilman, Kenneth Tompkins announced Wednesday night there will be a Memorial Day Parade this year only hours after the Veterans Memorial Commission had announced the parade had been suspended due to lack of funding. And the parade will be held without the need for any taxpayer money.
Tompkins, a Republican, stated in a press release “there has been a tremendous outpouring of support from local organizations and individuals,” and he named former City Court Judge Angelo Morinello, a Vietnam combat veteran and the Republican candidate for the state assembly, as pledging a $2,500 contribution to help make sure there is a parade this year.
In addition, Tompkins says “the Niagara LaSalle #132 Masons, the Kiwanis Club of Niagara Falls, and the Niagara Falls Tim Hortons’ franchise owner Robert Burns have all come forward to help sponsor the event and do so much more. There are so many other organizations listing their support it’s impossible to list them all right now.”
The release states that Tompkins and Councilman Ezra Scott, Jr., would assume responsibility for securing participants and support for the parade which traditionally runs from 19th Street to the Niagara Falls Veterans Memorial in Hyde Park.
Tompkins said he was unsure of what happened regarding the original announcement hours earlier by David Fabrizio, chairman of the veterans commission, that the parade was being suspended due to a lack of funds.
“To the best of my knowledge,” Tompkins said, “no request for funds or even a permit had been submitted to city hall. Nevertheless, the support is strongly there and as soon as my wife. Terry, posted on Facebook that we would be coordinating the effort, my phone rang off the hook.”
Tompkins, who along with Scott is a first-year lawmaker, said “let me reiterate, we are doing this without cost to the city taxpayers. This is a community-driven effort,” stressing it is not about politics but “about our community.”
Tompkins stressed that Mayor Paul Dyster and the other members of the city council support the effort to keep the Memorial Day Parade tradition going in the cataract city.
Tompkins said the effort is being made to pay tribute to the men and women who have served to preserve freedom, and “this parade is a small token of the gratitude we have for what they’ve sacrificed, especially those who gave their lives in battle.”
Groups that want to participate are asked to contact Tompkins at email@example.com for more information.