Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Preserving Troy's Flag Day Parade

Waving the flag and raising money for this year's Troy Flag Day Parade during "Troy Night Out" are, left to right, Allie Lockrow, Debra Lockrow, Nora Dwyer and Genn Peyser.

Buoyed by the response from local residents, organizations and businesses, the 46th annual Troy Flag Day Committee is tentatively set to step off at 1 p.m. June 9.

A final decision on whether the parade goes off will be made later this month. However, if current fund-raising efforts are successful, residents of the Capital Region will again be treated to a grand, red, white and blue tribute to our flag.

 As I wrote in Sunday's edition, the soft economy, the sequestration, a lack of state funding and the mounting cost of putting on a parade have greatly hampered the committee's efforts to put on a proper salute.
I don't think people realize what goes into putting on a successful parade year after year.

This small, patriotic group of people work almost year-round to put on the parade. They spend their own  time reaching out to local businesses for donations, seeking the best drum corps to march in the parade, working with the military to send one of its bands to the Collar City to lead the parade and perform at the annual parade-eve concert at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, making sure those band members are properly housed and fed, working out parade-day logistics with the various city of Troy departments, holding weekly meetings to make sure all the almost endless list of details are addressed, putting together the parade line of march — and that's only some of what they do!

It has been my privilege over the course of my almost 37-year career at The Record to work  with these terrific people. I always looked forward to March and my first visit of the year from various members of the parade committee. First it was Joe Killeen, Ed Verrillo and John Kacharian who would stop by to discuss plans for the parade. Jerry Weaver soon became part of those meetings and for the past few years it's been Cindy Wilson and Ed Manny, who is president of the committee. Ed and John have passed away, but they were great people who cared about the flag and this community. Joe, Jerry, Cindy and Ed, too, care greatly about our flag and this parade.

To aid the cause, The Record launched its annual fund-raising campaign in support of the parade and we hope to help the committee raise $10,000. Donations to our fund drive may be mailed to Flag Day Fund Drive, c/o The Record, 501 Broadway, Troy, NY 12180 or dropped off at the newspaper’s downtown office at the corner of Broadway and Fifth Avenue. Contributions may also be mailed to Troy Flag Day Committee at P.O. Box 56, Troy, NY 12180. Please make checks payable to the Troy Flag Day Committee. All donations will be listed in upcoming editions of The Record unless otherwise noted.

In addition to The Record's effort, other campaigns are under way to help finance the parade:

Cindy Wilson, left, and Nora Dwyer

—  “Support Troy’s Flag Day Parade” was launched last month and accepted donations at the recent “Troy Night Out” and the Farmer’s Market in the Troy Atrium and on River Street on Saturday. Donations to this effort are also being accepted at Artcentric Gallery at 266 River St. in downtown Troy. Nora Dwyer and Troy businesswoman Debra Lockrow are behind this effort.

— The Flag Day Committee's  launched its “Step Up With A Dollar” fund-raising campaign in March, which seeks $1 from each of the upwards of 50,000 who turn out each year for the parade. Donations may still be mailed to Troy Flag Day Committee, P.O. Box 56, Troy, NY 12180.

There is no question that times are tough, but we hope the community will support the committee's  efforts so the parade can step off this year — and many in the future.

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