Five grand marshals to preside over Apache Junction Veterans Day parade

Several events have been scheduled in Apache Junction and Gold Canyon to honor the area’s military veterans for Veterans Day.

Wednesday, Nov. 5

From noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, Central Arizona College will honor all who serve and have served in the military during a ceremony at its Superstition Mountain campus, 805 S. Idaho Road in Apache Junction.

Participating in the program will be the Apache Junction High School Color Guard. Julian Easter, CAC’s dean of health careers and sciences, will speak about Veterans Day while Kyle Wiegart will be the student veteran speaker, Angela Askey, CAC’s director of marketing, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

The ceremony will take place on the east side of the F Building near the flagpoles. Punch and cookies will be served after the event, Ms. Askey said.

For more information, e-mail or call 520-494-5402.

Sunday, Nov. 9

Starting at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9, the Ninth Annual Celebration of Veterans will begin at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church, 6640 S. Kings Ranch Road in Gold Canyon. The event is free; however, a free-will offering will be accepted.

Military veterans will be recognized through patriotic music, guest speakers with personal wartime stories and poems, according to a press release.

Doors will open at 2:15 p.m. for the non-denominational community event. The choirs of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Superstition Foothills Baptist Church and Gold Canyon United Methodist Church will combine to sing “God Bless the U.S.A.” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

The master of ceremonies will be U.S. Army Spc. Earl Beasley. The keynote speaker will be U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ron Silver Eagle D’Andre II. Musical entertainment will be performed by the Agape Brass Quintet, George Staerkel from Barleens Arizona Opry, The Housers, baritone Don Engbrecht and Gary Sauerbrunn along with GCUMC Music Director Douglas J. Benton and the combined choirs of the three churches.

In addition, the Girl Scouts of America will perform a flag-retirement ceremony.

All proceeds of the free-will offering will be donated to the Carl T. Hayden Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 650 E. Indian School Road in Phoenix, to assist returning warriors. Attendees are asked to bring at least one non-perishable food item per person for the Gold Canyon UMC Food Bank.

Refreshments will be served after the ceremony in the courtyard area.

For more information, call Rae Tianen 480-671-7378 or Don Tianen 480-694-7122.

Tuesday, Nov. 11

The Apache Junction Veterans Day Parade has been held on Veterans Day — Nov. 11 — each year for more than 20 years, according to the parade committee’s Facebook page. This year’s parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11.

The start time was changed from 9 a.m. to accommodate the schedule of the Commemorative Air Force to perform a flyover to kick off the procession, committee member Dave Waldron said during a phone interview Oct. 30.

This year’s theme is Veterans Helping Veterans, Mr. Waldron said.

“We are celebrating those who are ‘in the rear with the gear’,” Mr. Waldron said. “These are the people who are or were in a support position.”

The parade takes place along West Apache Trail. It begins at North Apache Trail/Phelps Drive and proceeds in the westbound lanes to Gold Drive, where participants will turn left and head back in the eastbound lanes of West Apache Trail to Phelps Drive.

The parade can be viewed from both sides of the road, Mr. Waldron said.

The parade route will close to traffic at 6 a.m.

Just prior to the start of the parade, at 9:15 a.m., the entries carrying American flags will gather at the Focal Point on the northwest corner of North Apache Trail/Phelps Drive and West Apache Trail for the Massing of the Colors ceremony of remembrance.

A flyover by the Commemorative Air Force at 9:30 a.m. will signal the start of the parade.

At 11 a.m., a ceremony honoring Veterans Day will be hosted by American Legion Post 27, 1018 S. Meridian Road in Apache Junction. It is open to the public. A moment of silence will take place at 11:11 a.m., the moment the guns fell silent ending World War I.

More than 40 participants from the east Valley are expected to take part this year in the hour-long procession, Mr. Waldron said by phone Oct. 28.

The 2014 parade will feature five grand marshals — one from each branch of the service, Mr. Waldron said. They are:

– Larry Taylor, U.S. Army: Mr. Taylor joined the Army in 1970. He received mortar training and was eventually assigned to Stuttgart, Germany, along with his wife. The Army then assigned him as a cook, and he became one of 30 cooks who prepared 3,000 meals three times daily for three years. Mr. Taylor separated from the Army in 1978. He continues to serve his fellow veterans by operating a motorized wheelchairs store and donating many scooters to local veterans as well as parts and services at a discount.

– David E. Jacobs, U.S. Marine Corps: Mr. Jacobs joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1968, during the height of the Vietnam War. He received advanced training in communication and eventually worked with helicopters and other aircraft with supplies heading to various locations. He separated from active duty in January 1973. Mr. Jacobs volunteered more than 750 hours in the past five years providing shuttle transportation for veterans to and from their vehicle to the clinic at the Southeast Veterans Affairs Medical Clinic in East Mesa.

– George “Mick” Hutnak, U.S. Navy: Mr. Hutnak joined the U.S. Navy in 1965. His initial assignment was working with deck division aboard the USS John Willis DE1027. He was reassigned to work on the Navy’s drone program known as Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter. His last assignment was working on the Grumman A-6A Intruders with Attack Squadron 176. He separated from active duty in 1970. Mr. Hutnak volunteers with the American Legion, the VFW Men’s Auxiliary and numerous veteran events and activities. He also volunteers as a member of the Apache Junction Veterans Day Parade Committee.

– Jennifer Palmtag Tallion, U.S. Air Force: Ms. Tallion joined the U.S. Air Force in 1983. Her advanced training was in finance. While in the service, her department directly supported the combat troops when the U.S. invaded Grenada on Oct. 25, 1983. The department processed and distributed temporary-duty pay to the troops who were deployed. She separated from active duty in 1987. Ms. Tallion volunteers with numerous veteran activities and events.

– Tim Farthing, U.S. Coast Guard: Mr. Farthing joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1974. He received training as a fireman onboard an 82-foot-long patrol boat. His mission was to patrol U.S. coastal waterways to provide assistance to civilian and military ships and boats in distress, and he was directly involved in saving a lot of lives, according to the release. He separated from active duty in 1977. Mr. Farthing volunteers for the Commemorative Air Force at Falcon Field Airport in Mesa. He is also active with the American Legion Post 27 in Apache Junction, serving as a member of its executive board for two years.

Participants in the parade include local veterans service clubs, motorcycle groups, car clubs, marching bands and equestrian associations. Entries are being accepted through Nov 7. Parade-entry forms may be picked at the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce, 567 W. Apache Trail.

For more information, e-mail or call 480-393-6341.


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