New group steps in for Mohave County veterans parade
11/6/2013 6:00:00 AM
By Shawn Byrne
KINGMAN - The 10th Annual Mohave County Veterans Day Parade is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 9 and though this year's parade will be the same as in past years, change is in the air.
The parade, which is organized by the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council, begins at 11 a.m. on Northern Avenue at Bond Street and will proceed to Bank Street.
This year's theme is "Veterans of the Past Honoring the Veterans of Today." With a lot of service people returning from places like Afghanistan and Iraq, those concerned about veterans in Kingman and Mohave County want to be certain they are looked after.
"With things going on nationally and locally, it's like we're passing the torch," JAVC president Pat Farrell said. "We want to start including our younger vets so they can get the care they need. They're not as family-oriented as World War II vets, so it's important someone is there for them when they come home."
According to Farrell, there are 27,000 veterans in Mohave County and 5,000 in Kingman, with the average age of a World War II veteran being 88 years old.
"Our World War II vets are passing on, and the Korean vets are not far behind, but it is the Vietnam vets who are dying the fastest because of what went on back then," he said. "We want someone to be here for our current vets."
The Christian Science Monitor reported in March 2012 that approximately 107,000 Army soldiers had completed at least three deployments, and that 50,000 of them had four or more deployments. These service members are close to Farrell's heart.
"I talked to one guy who has been to Afghanistan eight times," he said. "They can't even trust the people they are protecting. A lot of them have been set to get out (of the military) and were sent back. They are amazing and we want to honor them."
Just as parade organizers want a changing of the guard from old to new, the parade itself went under a change as well. In years past, it was the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10386 that organized the parade, but this year JAVC took the lead in ensuring a parade takes place.
"We just had too many plates on the table," Post 10386 spokesperson Melissa Murdock said. "Someone said they could take it so that we can reorganize this year."
When JAVC heard that putting on the parade might be an issue, it took up a motion to organize the parade if Post 10386 wouldn't be available to do so.
"Somebody needed to take charge of it and get it done," Farrell said. "We thought it would be good for us."
That doesn't mean Post 10386 is entirely out of the picture. The post will host some possible vendors and concessions and will have its doors open for an open house at 3036 John L Ave., one block north of the parade's end point that will include food, music, games for kids and a bounce house.