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Veterans Day parade is on for Nov. 11
Elko Daily Free Press - 11/6/2023
Nov. 6—ELKO — The Veterans Day parade is back on for Saturday at 11 a.m.
Elko County announced on Monday it is accepting entries for the annual parade that was canceled a few weeks ago due to a "misunderstanding" between county officials and local veterans groups.
This parade is in "collaboration with the City of Elko and community members" who are "actively working to host" the parade, the county said.
Community member Josephine Mahoney said the community is invited to participate in two meetings to organize the Veterans Day parade.
The first meeting is 6 p.m.Nov. 6 in the Nannini Building conference room at 540 Court St. The second is scheduled for 4 p.m.Nov. 7 in the Commissioners Board Room.
"It will be very important that the community helps organize this event and not just leave it to the veterans," Mahoney said.
VFW Post 2350 Commander Jim Sutherland said he learned about the meetings and would try to attend at least one of them.
"We are happy that they are having a parade, even if it is short notice," Sutherland said. "We're honored to be in it, and we will make sure to do what we can to help out."
Gil Hernandez, former VFW post commander, called the parade's restart "great news" and praised community members for "coming together on a special day for veterans" within a few days of Nov. 11.
"It's nice that the community is giving the veterans a parade," he said.
Last week, members of local veterans groups, including Sutherland and Hernandez, voiced disappointment about the parade's cancellation.
Elko County officials said the cancellation was due to "a lack of interest" when no one showed up for a scheduled planning meeting, not leaving enough time to organize the parade.
In place of the parade, Elko County recognized veterans for a Day of Honor on Nov. 1 with a proclamation to celebrate "our past, present and future veterans," and a ceremony by the Elko County Courthouse War Memorial.
On Wednesday, Commissioner Delmo Andreozzi called the parade's cancellation a "misunderstanding" between the county and veterans groups.
Andreozzi, along with Commissioners Travis Gerber and Rex Steninger, also expressed their support for veterans and offered to help organize future Veterans Day parades.
"If not I, then who?"
Restarting the Veterans Day parade has been a community-wide effort, said citizen Josephine Mahoney.
Mahoney, 23, said she has lived in Elko for about 18 months and was prompted to get involved after learning about the parade's cancellation from friend and veteran Ron DaRonche.
Hearing about the Elko County commissioners' regular meeting on Nov. 1, she decided to attend "just to show my support." Mahoney said she was prompted to speak after hearing the parade had been canceled due to "no interest."
"To show that there is interest, I realized it was especially important to be heard [by] somebody that is part of the younger generation," she said.
After hearing Commissioner Rex Steninger tell VFW member Gil Hernandez the County would help veterans organize the parade, Mahoney said it motivated her to do something.
"I didn't think it was fair that a veteran had to figure out how to organize a day that is in appreciation of him," she said. "It was then that the phrase 'If not I, then who?' became lodged in my head."
Mahoney said she then asked for Steninger's email to work with him, reaching out to people and posting comments on social media to get more people involved.
With Steninger's help, Mahoney said she compiled a list of contacts and resources and began spreading the word about the parade. One of her contacts was Elko County Administrative Assistant Anna Hight, who worked on obtaining the parade permit and contacting the media.
"Anna deserves recognition for the last-minute work she's put in for the city's end of the parade," Mahoney said.
Others in the community responded, she added. The Western Folklife Center is waiving the fee for veterans to attend their "Let's Dance" night starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, saying "Dancing brings people closer together."
Mahoney credits the community for pulling together at the last minute and creating awareness for starting up the parade to honor local veterans.
"The community spoke up."
"It is especially important now more than ever for our veterans to know how many people care," she said.
Mahoney also hopes that more people will take up the motto, "If not I, then who?" when it comes to volunteering in the community and supporting veterans.
"We can't expect others to get the job done," she said. "Because there were many people who decided it was them that would get the job done, we now have a team to make this happen. It changes from just 'I' to 'we.' So don't be afraid to just be 'I' for a bit. The 'we' will follow."
Veterans Day parade
According to the parade entry form, there is no fee to sign up a float. Handing out candy by entrants is allowed, and last-minute entries are "always welcome."
Check-in and line up starts at 10 a.m. at the Crystal Theater. The parade starts at 11 a.m.Nov. 11 and will follow the traditional parade route through downtown and along Idaho St.
Participants are asked to fill out a parade entry form and drop it off at 540 Court St. Ste. 101 or email it to Elko County Administrative Assistant Anna Hight at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the parade, call Hight at 775-748-0222.
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