Past grand marshals honored at dinner

Published 1:01 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Love of family, community and country were the themes speakers at this year’s Past Grand Marshal Dinner focused on.

Brent Pyles took the role of master of ceremonies at the dinner at the Knights of Columbus on Tuesday.

“Each year we pay honor and remember those individuals who are past grand marshals who have given a great measure of time and effort,” Pyles told the diners. “The parade is an important event in Lawrence County and Ironton. This night is your night.

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“And it is also to take time to remember our mission to recognize and continue with the tradition of the Memorial Day parade, to pay tribute to our nation’s finest and bravest, to always remember those who served our country. It is important for us to remember and to appreciate and be humbled by their tremendous courage.”

Keynote speaker was Army veteran and Bronze Star recipient Charles “Chuck” Conley. The Ironton man served multiple tours in Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo, including Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Conley fashioned his remarks around this year’s parade theme of USA Strong.

“Religious belief is one thing that makes USA Strong,” Conley said. “The USA, it’s the people. Every man and woman who haven take up arms, or made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Conley’s remarks were followed by honoring Kalynda Cloud, immediate past grand marshal; Julia Jones, parade commander; Joe Wiseman, honorary grand marshal and 2015 grand marshal Laura Brown.

“From the bottom of my heart, being the grand marshal was the best thing I have ever witnessed in my life,” Cloud said. “I got to be a part of history.”

Wiseman told the guests that adding up his years as a Navy man with those years of service of his three sons, there is 109 years of military service in his family.

“We’re connected to the military,” he said.

It was Brown and her sister, Jones, who came up with this year’s parade theme of USA Strong to honor their Marine veteran father Harry Markel.

“We teach respect and patriotism,” Brown said about women’s role in their families. “I am part of the red, white and blue. When we have hardships, we stand together. Your family is your support. Every one of us comes together to work together to make this parade. It is all about country and family, coming together for a good cause.”