Township to commemorate Veterans Day with run, ceremony

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 2, 2016

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — On Sunday, Nov. 6, Shelby Township on its municipal grounds will host a 5K walk/run to honor and support local veterans, followed by a ceremony at the township’s memorial.

Registration for the run will open at 8 a.m. the day of the event, and the run will start at 10 a.m. The Veterans Day ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. with a special emphasis on the Fire and Police departments.

Shelby Township Veteran Events Coordinator Phil Randazzo said he wanted to start a movement to include police and fire personnel in the way members of the military are revered.

“All uniforms combine into one to protect the nation,” Randazzo said. “The military, the veterans, police, fire, EMS — it’s all under one title: first responders. (At the ceremony), we’re going to have the Police and Fire departments playing a big part.”

In the past, he said, police and fire personnel have played smaller roles, but he wanted to emphasize their role with the military as “one unit.” He said his idea came from recent reports of violence against police and firefighters.

“You won’t see them shoot soldiers or the national guard,” Randazzo said. “I got criticized when I got back (from fighting in Vietnam). I know how that feels. It’s been eating me for a couple of years about police being treated that way, and firefighters.”

He said the program will include the Pledge of Allegiance, a duet of “God Bless America,” a 21-gun salute, a live trumpet rendition of taps, brief words from Police Chief Robert Shelide and Fire Chief Jim Swinkowski, and a “siren salute.”

A siren salute, he explained, is when police and fire vehicles surrounding the veterans memorial simultaneously sound their sirens for a short period of time.

The ceremony will be dedicated to Shelby Township resident David Hahn, a U.S. Navy veteran and Marine who served on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. Hahn died in September at the age of 39.

Race Director Michael Ward said the entire 5K walk/run course is handicapped accessible by design, so any veteran with a disability or injury could participate.

“It’s a double-loop around the main grounds, including Mae Stecker Park and the lake, which makes it a very pretty course,” Ward said. “We backed it up so it does not overlap with the service.”

New this year, he said, will be awards for the first-place female and male in each age group. Following the race, he said, there will be refreshments, a DJ and a photographer.

The township municipal grounds are located at 52700 Van Dyke Ave., south of 24 Mile Road. For more information, call the Shelby Township Supervisor’s Office at (586) 731-5154.

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