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Committee seeks support for Memorial Day Parade

Next step is March 15 Big Boy fundraiser

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published March 4, 2011

 At the 2010 Madison Heights Memorial Day Parade May 29, Madison Heights resident John Farhat salutes alongside men and women in uniform.

At the 2010 Madison Heights Memorial Day Parade May 29, Madison Heights resident John Farhat salutes alongside men and women in uniform.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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MADISON HEIGHTS — When the crowds came out for the Memorial Day Parade last year, they did so with more than the usual patriotic fervor.

The city had cut parade funding due to a tough budget, so businesses and residents privately raised money to rescue the event. As such, spirits were high — it was truly the people’s parade.

Onlookers cheered as clowns, marching bands, dancers and others traveled north on John R from 12 Mile to 13 Mile, then west on 13 Mile to City Hall, where bagpipes were played, and men and women in uniform stood at attention. Respects were paid to those who had died for our freedoms, and all had a good time.

Now the Madison Heights Memorial Day Parade Committee is hoping to do it all over again, as the city is no richer than before, and the parade will once again depend on the community’s generosity and support.

“We are looking at going ahead, as we did last year, on the conditions that we raise enough money to cover the cost,” said committee member Andy McGillivray, noting that nothing is final yet. Right now, they need to raise between $8,000 and $9,000, he said, and efforts toward this end are already under way.

One fundraiser they’ve already held was an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner at VFW Post 9507 on Feb. 13.

“They (VFW) have really taken it upon themselves and their board to help us plan the parade, help us organize it, because they recognize the significance of (the parade) more than anyone, since it honors veterans, those who have died,” McGillivray said.

Next is a fundraiser at Big Boy, 30460 John R, just south of 13 Mile, from 5-8 p.m. March 15. To help the cause, you must bring one of the fliers distributed at City Hall, the library, the nature center, etc., in order for 20 percent of your purchase proceeds to be donated to the parade. There will also be raffles throughout the night.

The Lions Club will also help raise money by holding a pancake breakfast at the Senior Citizen Center May 1; however, other specifics have yet to be determined.

At press time, donation containers were to be set up at businesses and municipal buildings throughout the city. Also, people have the option of sending a check, made out to the Parade Committee, to Madison Heights City Hall, 300 W. 13 Mile, Madison Heights, MI 48071.

“The heaviest costs are the city staff we have to bring in for the parade on that day,” McGillivray said. “We’re bringing police officers as well as public servicemen that are taking care of road closures, security concerns, setting up for the memorial service, bringing up equipment, things like that.”

Though the parade requires a lot of coordination and hard work to pull off, last year proved it could be done.

“I think it went really well,” McGillivray said. “We took a lemon and made lemonade out of it, really, is the best way to put it. I still think people believe we were nuts.”

“The businesses cooperated so well along John R and 13 Mile,” said committee chair Martha Kehoe. “They all worked out really well; they all understood and cooperated with us. That was our biggest concern, but then it worked out real well.

“It was perfect. To me, it was really our best parade,” Kehoe added. “It went really well because we changed it from Monday to Saturday. We were kind of nervous, but we found it worked out quite well because we found the people who normally went to other parades on Memorial Day could go to those and ours, as well. A lot of people have kids scattered in other cities, so this worked out well because they could attend both.”

Scheduling it May 29 last year, rather than Memorial Day proper, also saved the parade costs in the form of no holiday overtime for city staff. The day of this year’s parade has not been chosen yet, but will likely follow the same model. Other cost-saving measures include shifting parade communications to computers to reduce printing costs.

The committee is also seeking additions for its Wall of Heroes, which made its debut at last year’s parade. The wall features the faces of people with ties to Madison Heights who have served or are currently serving in the military. Pictures, along with information such as when and where they served, and in what position, are sought.

“There’s a lot of people involved with the military here in Madison Heights, small community that it is,” Kehoe said.

The next parade fundraiser will be at Big Boy, 30460 John R, just south of 13 Mile, from 5-8 p.m. March 15; you must bring one of the fliers distributed at City Hall, the library, the nature center, etc., to donate 20 percent of your proceeds to the cause.

To donate money, send checks made out to the Parade Committee to Madison Heights City Hall, 300 W. 13 Mile, Madison Heights, MI 48071.

To contribute to the Wall of Heroes, contact mhparade@gmail.com mail the pictures and information to City Hall or drop it off at 1765 Dulong.
 

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