Patriotism focus of parade volunteers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 11, 2004

They range in age from late 30s to early 80s and all decades in


Some of them are housewives, others are nurses, judges or businesspeople. They all have one thing in common - they want to make sure the nation's oldest continuing Memorial Day parade continues.

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Many different things got the members of the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade to begin volunteering their time.

"Marilyn Caniff got me involved. I started back in 1985," Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade Treasurer Lori Young said. "I knew her through the (Ironton High School) Band Boosters. That's how Connie and Jim (Adkins) and a lot of us got involved."

For Sue Lunsford, an invitation from former member, Don Dewitz, got her in the door the first time. The tug at her heart kept her coming back year after year, month after month.

"I began to feel a spirit," she said.

Both she and Young had family members who served their country. Now they serve their community by keeping a patriotic tradition alive.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank

McCown estimated that he had been involved with the parade for 10 years. He said it was an opportunity to show his respect for those who have gone on before him.

"I'm proud of the nation's oldest continuing Memorial Day parade," he

said. "This is a tradition that can not be lost."

When McCown got involved, he knew just where to find some good help: his own office at the courthouse. This year, he is grand marshal and his office assistant, Jan Wisenberger, will serve as parade commander. Wisenberger has been involved as long as McCown.

She, in turn, recruited family members to help. Nephew Shawn Gesling, 16, comes every year from Cincinnati to help with the parade.

Both McCown and Wisenberger said they wished they saw more young people seated around the tables at the VFW Post 8850 on meeting nights.

"The more people who get involved, the better it is for our community," Wisenberger said.

Anyone is welcome to join the parade committee. The next meeting is 7 p.m. Monday

at the VFW Post 8850 on South Third Street.