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Monessen eyes big plans for Veterans Day parade

| Saturday, May 17, 2014, 8:37 a.m.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
Monessen Veterans Council members are pictured at the city veterans memorial in City Park, from left, Floyd Kizzie, Myron Sepitko, Frank Vizza, Ron Chromulak, George Essey and Jim Pallini.

The Valley Veterans Day Parade will mark its 70th anniversary when the event is held in Monessen.

That seemed like the perfect occasion to make it a celebration worthy of the occasion.

“I felt we should invite not only the veterans but the people who support the veterans,” said Ron Chromulak, who became the Monessen Veterans Council chairman in January.

When Monessen last hosted the parade and program in 2009, it marked the first time the city did so after an absence of nearly two decades.

This year's parade is set for Nov. 8. The theme is Veterans, Patriotism and Americanism.

The Monessen Veterans Association comprises Anthony Madison American Legion Post 704, Thomas McKee American Legion Post 28, Allison Lescanic Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1190, the Mid Mon Valley Shipmates and the Joseph Walker Mon Valley Chapter of the Air Force Association.

The annual parade rotates among Monessen, Charleroi, Donora, Monongahela and Washington.

Chromulak said that based on previous years, it will require roughly $10,000 to pay for Veterans Day events. That budget will cover the cost of bringing in bands and parade vehicles, as well as a luncheon in the Firemen's Social Hall in the city's Eastgate section.

The veterans council is planning a tag day at Walmart in Rostraver Township on Flag Day, June 14, to benefit the parade. A tag day will take place July 12 at Kmart in Rostraver Township.

Chromulak said he invited Monongahela Valley Hospital in Carroll Township to participate because many veterans are patients there.

“We're in the process of inviting a lot more people to participate in this parade than we had in the past,” Chromulak said. “We're going to have people from the Washington, Pa., area across to the Greensburg area, from Uniontown to the South Hills.

“We're going to incorporate all of the other communities within a 15- to 20-mile radius of here to be a part of it,” Chromulak said.

“I don't think we've ever tried to expand that area that much before. And if it works, maybe whoever has the parade next year will try to do the same.”

Any decision to expand the municipalities in the rotation would have to be made by the Mon Valley Veterans Council, Chromulak said.

Chromulak said host communities have to go outside their borders for support to hold the parades.

“We need corporate sponsorship for the parade,” Chromulak said. “Because Monessen is the host community, we're trying to draw as much support from Monessen as possible.”

Chromulak said he has reached out to such well-known Monessen natives as actress Frances McDormand, NASCAR race team owner Chip Ganassi, former heavyweight boxing champion Michael Moorer and entertainer Jim “Sputzy” Sparacino, who responded and said he would be honored to be in the parade.

Trib Total Media is a corporate sponsor.

“We're expecting to have a big parade,” Chromulak said. “My idea is to show what Monessen is capable of doing.”

Chromulak asked the public to support the tag days or send checks to the Monessen Veterans Council, c/o 354 Balazia Ave., Monessen, Pa. 15062.