The Celebrate Commemorate Parade has been cancelled due to a fast moving storm with some lightening spotted. The storm will pass thru and the rain is already slowing down. The rest of the day is still on at this point both in the Park and at Oak Island. Stay tuned for further updates as the day goes on. Lots of entertainment under tents as well as vendors and food!!
The parade will line up at 10:30 a.m. and step out promptly at 11 a.m. for the march down Main Street.
Slideshow of the 2018 Parade
This year’s honor float in the Freedom Parade pays tribute to our men and women who have served.Come watch the Romulus Girl Scouts come together to carry a large flag down main street in honor of all military men and women who have served and are still serving.We welcome anyone who would like to join us in this great opportunity.
A float by Girl Ccout Troop 60562 will honor all veterans.Any Vet who would like to ride on the float is invited to call Sarah Smolinski at 315-745-9928 or Nicole Hunsberger at 315-719-5247.
Veterans will follow in cars, motorcycles and especially buses from the VA hospital in Canandaigua.Those who want to drive their own cars must have at least three people in the vehicle.Following the parade, vets will be hosted at a chicken barbecue lunch at the VFW.Please RSVP to Karen Lewis at 315-651-9513 to allow the VFW to plan for enough food.
Groups that have been in the parade before, know what fun it can be.Once again, there will be divisions for military and officials; youth organizations, schools and families; churches, senior citizens and organizations; and vehicles.The Civil War and American Revolutionary War re-enactors will have a “parade within a parade.” Watch for special “dignitaries” in this year’s parade including US President Abe Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.The very popular Hit Men Brass Band will join Downbeat Percussion, Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps, the Waterloo Central School Band and the Finger Lakes Pipes & Drums in the lineup this year.
Bring your chair and wave a flag to honor our vets and community stars!
New to this year’s celebrations, we have joined forces with an organization that goes by the name of Operation Build Up. They are a non profit organization based out of Avon, NY. They are a team of former marines that come together and rebuild vehicles for veterans in need.
Their mission is “to have an impact on the 22 veteran suicides per day and homelessness statistics by surprising veterans with the basic items needed for survival in a civilian lifestyle. Our goal over the next year is to surprise over 150 veterans with vehicles and complete home furnishings all across New York state!” Operation Build Up has not only given cars away but this past Christmas they gave a veteran and his family a home to live in rent free for four months. OBU came together as a team and collected donations from near and far and was able to make a dream come true for this veteran during a time of need.
Excerpt from CEO and Founder of Operation Build Up, Justin Cogswell:
Many people do not realize how difficult of an adjustment it can be to move from military life into civilian life for many veterans.Most of our heroic veterans return home from service with just enough personal belongings to fit in their vehicles. Many also have skill-sets that are strictly combat related making the transition into civilian life a challenge.Veterans are brave, dedicated, selfless people by nature.
Anyone that has met a hardened military veteran understands that they are the last people in the world to ask friends and family for help, or express their troubles. They are expected to be able to figure it out because “He or she is a Marine!”, “Or a Soldier!”….This attitude adds more pressure to our already overwhelmed veterans.Yes there are many programs offering needed assistance, most of which have requirements based upon percentage of disability, discharge classifications, discharge dates, and many additional criteria that further complicate assistance.
Operation Build Up is here to change thesecircumstances.Regardless of the criteria.We will help every veteran that we can with the necessary tools for survival in a civilian atmosphere, young and old. Whether you have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Vietnam, or any other conflict; we will do all we can to come to your aid.
Imagine if we could have an Operation Clean Out To Build Up warehouse in every major city!By giving restored vehicles and furniture we give them a comfort, sense of belonging, and the tools necessary to create stable lives. The effect on Veteran’s homelessness and suicide statistics would be dramatic.
We Won’t Leave You Behind, Our Team Strives To Simplify The Process Of Getting Resources To Our Veterans.
Operation Build Up will be joining us this year in surprising one of our local veterans with a car of their very own right here in Waterloo.
The Henry C. Welles award honors those individuals who “embody the character and commitment of the founder of Memorial Day toward the betterment of our community.”
For his efforts to preserve and improve the village of Waterloo, this year’s Welles award honors Leland “Lee” Henry of 93 Virginia Street.
“For more than 50 years, Lee has worked tirelessly for the improvement of Waterloo,” said Josh Mull, a member of the selection committee. “From his service in the Lions Club and the Jay Cees, to his work on the Town Board and his efforts as a private citizen, Lee’s life of service and commitment is exemplary.”
Lee Henry will be presented his award at a reception from 5:30 to 6:30 pm on Friday, May 24, at the Waterloo Library and Historical Society, East Williams Street, the kickoff for Celebrate Commemorate weekend.
Henry came to Waterloo with his family from Brooklyn in 1946, in the middle of his junior year in high school, and although his work forced him to move frequently throughout his adult life, Waterloo was always the place he called home.
Lee graduated from Waterloo High School in 1947, and after a year in college enlisted in the ARMY, serving four years with the 82nd Airborne Division. While in the service, he married his high school sweetheart, the former Alice O’Connor, who joined him at Ft Bragg, N C .It was not surprising that the young couple returned to Waterloo following his discharge. “Our roots were here,” he explained.
Not long after settling into his new home, Henry joined the Waterloo Lions Club and became involved in the group’s many projects. The Lions created the first crossing to Oak Island by installing a culvertand path from Oak Street. They then built a playground in the swampy area north of what is now the Community Center, between Oak & Seneca St“We literally drained the swamp before it became a popular phrase,” Henry said with a laugh. Mike Weaver, local tile drainage expert, provided help with drainage and surveying, he said.But the group was stymied when it came to installing a fence around the field.The project’s cost was more than the group could fund.Then they heard that the former Andes FurnaceCoon Route 5&20 in Geneva was closing and would donate its cyclone fence to the Lions if they removed it that weekend.Verne Sessler Sr. .came to the rescueproviding trucks and equipment and on a “rainy, cold weekend” in November the Lions turned out to take on the challenge of rolling up several hundred feet of fence, pulling up posts and removing the concrete footings. “That’s when I learned to use a jackhammer,” Henry joked.The playground was completed over several years, fence erected, painted, equipped, supervised and became a Village operation.Henry remained a Lion for many years, serving at least one term as President.
During this time, he was employed at Greenwood Foods, moving up from warehouseman to transportation manager. For three years he also drove three nights a week to Syracuse University to study economics and transportation, a tough commute in those days with no Thruway. And he and Alice raised their three children, daughters Karen and Valerie and son Leland. When work took him away from Waterloo, Henry reluctantly gave up his community activities. But he returned home in 1965-66 in time to assist fellow Welles Award recipients Richard Schreck and John Genung on the Centennial Committee that succeed in Waterloo being named the official Birthplace of Memorial Day.
It was a proud day in 1978 when Lee successfully passed the five, four-hour exams to earn his professional certification from the American Society of Traffic and Transportation. Following his retirement in 1992, Henry returned to public service. He served on the Town Board from 1997-2001, helping form a zoning committee and develop a comprehensive plan and the Town’s first zoning ordinance, with a bevy of other ordinances to protect to Town, in 2000.
Henry served on the board of the Library & Historical Society from 2005 to 2009 ,helping raise funds and drafting the organization’s first formal budget and instituting health care and retirement plans for employees.
He is proudest of his work as vice president of Concerned Citizens of Seneca County in helping to shutter mining on a 200-acre field East of Burgess Road. “Saving that land is huge. If Waterloo is ever going to expand, that’s the natural direction,” he explained.
Alice Henry died in 2014, and these days Lee, age 90, enjoys spending time with his children and their spouses, nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren who all live nearby, and his large orange cat “Dilbert”.He works part time as a delivery person for BonaDent, serves as an usher at St. Francis-St. Clare church, delivers Meals on Wheels and is working on his golf game.
“We are honored to welcome Lee Henry to the group of amazing men and women who are previous Welles Award recipients,” said Jane Shaffer, co-chair of Celebrate Commemorate.
The role of the engineer was extremely vital for the Army to move across the land and fight on the battlefield. The engineers were instrumental in clearing paths through woods, laying down “corduroy roads” on muddy surfaces, building wooden trestle bridges and transporting / deploying pontoon bridges over rivers.Defensive works needed the guidance of the engineers to construct gabions (three foot tall, round wicker containers filled with dirt to place around artillery batteries), and direct the building of field fortifications especially towards the middle through the end of the war when trench warfare was more prevalent. Chevaux-de-frise (or Friesian horses) were anti-cavalry defensive pieces built by engineers that were often logs with projecting sharpened spikes alternating every foot out of the timber. When placed in front of defensive works they acted as a barrier or obstacle for both cavalry and infantry offensives. Abatis were large branches that were placed in front of works as well to serve as a obstacle to slow down an advance of troops. Also in front of such works were shallow rifle pits (much like foxholes) that the defenders would use to repel the offensive forces. Signal towers were often constructed behind the lines for both observation of the enemy and use by the signal corps to transmit semaphore messages with flags. Lifting gins, with their pulleys, were used to lift heavy objects such as cannon barrels.
During the course of the “School of the Engineer / Pioneer”, the public will be able to witness participants rotating through 45 minute learning sessions on how to build gabions, chevaux-de-frise, lifting gins, dig rifle pits and a construct a signal tower. The Engineers’ Tool Depot will feature hand tools, entrenching / felling implements and cartography (map making) equipment. Witness history yourself, see their camps, examine their personal belongings, food and equipment. The school located at the Oak Island encampment will commence on Saturday at 1pm following the Memorial Day Parade.
The school is hosted by two Western New York engineer reenacting units. Capt. Ray Ball of Co. A of the U.S. Regular Engineers has been reenacting since 2010 and is a veteran of the Army Corps of Engineers. Capt Alex Johnson of Co. F of the 1st N.Y. Volunteer Engineers, has reenacted since 1992 and is a descendant of an immigrant sergeant of the original New York regiment. If you’re so intrigued to, join in on the fun and enlist in either Co. A of the U.S. Regular Engineers or Co. F of the 1st N.Y. Volunteer Engineers.