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Past grand marshals honored at dinner

On Friday volunteers spent part of the morning putting up American flags lining the Woodland Cemetery bridge so all coming up and down U.S. 52 would know Ironton is getting ready for its big celebration this weekend — the annual Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade.

Then on Tuesday tradition continued as the parade committee hosted the annual Grand Marshal Dinner at the Knights of Columbus.

There were 48 in attendance, past grand marshals, their families, parade committee members and those who will serve this year in parade leadership capacities.

“(The parade) means so much to me, the county, the community,” said Brent Pyles, a past grand marshal who served as master of ceremonies for the evening event. “I firmly believe this committee does an excellent job. (The parade) is to honor those who have served and given their full measure of duty for our freedoms.”

Among those honored was this year’s past grand marshal, Rich Donohue, who served as the parade’s grand marshal in 2012.

“You don’t know what this means to me,” Donohue said.

Donohue recalled how important the Memorial Day parade was to his parents who would bring their children into Ironton each year to watch the celebration.

“This is a group who has worked hard,” Donohue said about the parade committee. “I appreciate everybody here working to make sure it continues.”

This year parade commander, who will take the reins of grand marshal next year, is Kalynda Cloud, who came back to her hometown of Ironton a few years ago.

“I never thought I would be in a community where I could give back and see the joy it gives,” Cloud said. “I look forward to this year and next year to make it a memorable parade.”

Also honored was Brent Chamberlin, this year grand marshal who was presented with the special cane carved by Charlie Cook that the grand marshal carries during the parade.

Cook created a cane that takes its theme from the makeshift battlefield cross many soldiers were buried under, a helmet, dog tags, rifle turned upside down and boots.

“It is an honor to stand here tonight,” said Chamberlin, who got involved with the parade committee with his wife, Angie. “We just wanted to give back. It is about the future as well as the past. With people like the committee generations will remember what this day is all about.”