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Pub Crawl will raise money for Madison Heights Memorial Day Parade

May 2 event will tour venues around the city

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published April 24, 2015

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MADISON HEIGHTS — The Madison Heights Memorial Day Parade — held the Saturday before Memorial Day — will feature a picnic in Civic Center Park after the memorial service this year. But first, efforts continue to raise money for the privately funded event, with the Pub Crawl on May 2.

The tour of local watering holes will begin in the parking lot of the former Kmart, at the corner of 12 Mile and John R. Guests are asked to check in by 5:30 p.m. and then board one of two busses, which will leave at 5:45 p.m. Multiple venues will be visited throughout the course of the night. The cost is $20 per person.

Fundraisers such as the Pub Crawl have been necessary in recent years, since the parade is no longer funded by the city. It will be held May 23, in advance of Memorial Day, to save on overtime costs for police, fire and DPW staff. Roads will close around 9 a.m., with the parade kicking off at 10 a.m. Like the Pub Crawl, it starts in the Kmart parking lot at 12 Mile and John R. From there, it heads up John R to 13 Mile, where it turns west past Madison Heights City Hall.

Once the parade has concluded, a memorial service will be held on the hill at the gazebo in front of City Hall. In past years, people would be welcome to attend a hot dog luncheon at the VFW Post, but since the post is currently closed due to financial troubles, a picnic will be held instead.

The picnic will be held in Civic Center Park, right behind City Hall — much closer to the site of the memorial service. The owner of Save-A-Lot, on John R north of 11 Mile, is providing all of the food and drinks. There will be a nominal fee, yet to be decided, but expected to be no more than $2 or $3.

In addition, Oakland County Parks and Recreation will be providing recreation equipment for the kids, and for the adults, a small car show is planned, among other things.

“Our intention is to make it a fun day for families to enjoy after the parade,” said Andy McGillivray, a member of the Madison Heights Parade Committee. “It won’t cost much to have fun that afternoon, so come on out. We’re really hoping this will turn into something really nice we can do every year.”

The parade itself is still in the registration stages. Those who want to participate in the parade can visit www.madisonheightspa rade.org for more information. Volunteers are needed, as well.

“Especially with the picnic, we’re putting even more strain on our committee,” McGillivray said. “We need volunteers to help clean up after the picnic and to keep things moving smoothly.”

Donations continue to be accepted. Checks made out to “The City of Madison Heights,” with “Memorial Day Parade” on the memo line, can be sent to Madison Heights City Hall, 300 W. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights, MI 48071.

The city is also collecting pictures of servicemen and women for the Wall of Heroes. Anyone with ties to Madison Heights who served in the military or who currently serves is eligible. The wall has three parts: a blue section for those currently serving, a white section for those who have served, and a red section for those who were killed in action.

The display had to be reconstructed after it was damaged during the flooding of the lower level of City Hall last summer. The new Wall of Heroes is built to last, and the plan is to enshrine it in the new Heritage Rooms once they’re complete, bringing it outside for events like Memorial Day.

The Wall of Heroes has close to 100 people on it at the moment, with room for more. Those who want to contribute their photos and information can send them to City Hall, noting their full name, positions held and years of service.

McGillivray said he understands if people don’t want to be a part of it, however. His own grandfather was a World War II veteran who seldom spoke about his time in the service.

“I hear from so many people who are veterans, who for one reason or another don’t want to be recognized,” McGillivray said. “It’s so personal for each and every one of them. I’m glad to see there are a lot of organizations out there who have done good things for the veterans.”

Many members of the Parade Committee have had loved ones in the service or know people who have. For committee chair Martha Kehoe, her husband served in the military. She said it’s never easy pulling together the funding for the parade, and that sometimes people seem to assume it will just work out like it always has. That being said, she seems confident that the parade will come together this year, as well.

“I think we’re going to be OK this year,” Kehoe said. “We had a very successful spaghetti dinner at the end of March. Since the VFW Post closed, we had to scramble to find a place, and the Masonic Temple let us rent their building.”

McGillivray said one thing that keeps the entire committee going is Jean Linville, a Madison Heights resident and Gold Star mother who lost her son in the Vietnam War. When the city first announced that it was cutting funding to the parade, Linville said she would march up and down John R by herself, walking in the left-turn lane if needed.

“I think each committee member has their own reason, but Jean Linville has been the uniting factor for all of us,” McGillivray said.

Although the city had to cut parade funding due to the economic downturn, officials have still endeavored to help out in other ways. The city has been supportive of the picnic, for example.

“It’s tremendous that when we went to the city and said we want to do this picnic, they looked at us and said, ‘What help do you need?’” McGillivray said. “They didn’t worry about overtime; they asked what they can do to help. And especially with this being the city’s 60th anniversary, they’re looking to make a big impact.”

Check-in for the Pub Crawl on May 2 will be in the parking lot of the former Kmart, at the corner of 12 Mile and John R. Guests are asked to check in by 5:30 p.m. The busses leave at 5:45 p.m. The cost is $20 per person.

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