A World War II veteran with more than six decades of volunteerism to his credit has been chosen to lead this year's Palmerton Halloween Parade.
Al Kohler, a lifelong resident of the borough, has been dubbed grand marshal of the 19th annual event, sponsored by the Palmerton Area Chamber of Commerce.
The parade will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17. The rain date is Monday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.
Kohler, a veteran of World War II who served 32 months in the Pacific as a petty officer, motor machinist mate second class, U.S. Navy, said he was proud to learn of his selection.
"To me, I think it's an honor," said Kohler, 93. "Being recognized means something to everybody."
A retired barber/bus driver, Kohler said he's been a volunteer for over 60 years.
"I'm not doing this for me," he said. "I'm doing it because I think the people are not being appreciated for what they do."
Susie Arner, parade chairwoman, said Kohler's resume speaks for itself.
"Al was chosen as grand marshal because of his past service to our country, our community, his church and his continued commitment to be the best person he can be as he supports these things today," Arner said. "I am sure he will represent the Palmerton community in the parade with much dignity and honor since he is a truly great person. We are honored to have him participate in the parade and to serve as the grand marshal."
Kohler is a former Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus; Past Faithful Navigator of the Monsignor Angelini Assembly; a life member of the Disabled Veterans, Chapter 7, of Allentown; a life member of the Aquashicola Fire Company; past president of the Holy Name Society; former National Grange Member; and Star Scout/Life Scout for the former Boy Scouts Troop 4 of Palmerton.
Kohler, who serves as chaplain of the American Legion Post 269, Palmerton, has been married to his wife, Mary, for 19 years.
The parade will form at 2:30 p.m. There will be no parking along the parade route in the 600 and 700 block of Franklin Avenue, and from Seventh Street from Delaware to Franklin.
However, Arner noted the parade route has changed this year. The parade will start at Seventh Street and Delaware Avenue, where it will go up Delaware to Third Street, and then turn left onto Franklin. It will continue to Second Street, and travel up Second to Lafayette Avenue, where it will turn right and continue to Seventh Street, where it will disband.
"This new route will allow parade participants to be dropped off and picked up in the area of seventh and Delaware Avenue," she said. "This should be easier for parents of children in the parade, as well as be safer for all parade participants."
Arner said the committee is looking for volunteers on the day of the parade to assist with division lineups, traffic control, registrations, and donation collecting.
Those interested in assisting can contact Arner at 610-826-7515. Also, anyone with last minute registrations may contact her as well.
Arner also said the committee is always in search of musical participants to perform in the parade. The judging stand will be located at Borough Hall, she said.
She said adult members of the boy scouts of Palmerton will be accepting donations along the parade route. Contributions may also be sent to the Palmerton Chamber of Commerce, 410 Delaware Ave.
Safety is also of concern, and Arner cautioned parents to keep their children back behind the curb when picking up candy.
Any groups interested in or planning on selling items such as food or novelties along the parade route need to notify Arner or the secretary at the police department to be registered, she said.
However, only those groups that are registered will be allowed to sell things, she said. Arner also asked that those who pick up parade participants at the end of the parade should use Princeton Avenue.