Carbon County's largest tribute to veterans – the Summit Hill Memorial Day Parade – will kick off on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, beginning at 11 a.m.
Prior to the parade, the community's traditional memorial service, hosted by American Legion Post 316, Summit Hill, will take place at 10 a.m. in Ludlow Park.
Leonard "Lenny" Ogozalek of Summit Hill, a veteran of the Vietnam Era, will be the guest of honor, leading a four-division parade that has 88 entries in it. Ogozalek has been involved in many community and civic organizations, primarily as a member of the Summit Hill Fire Company and Fire Police.
At the close of the memorial service, he will ring the old Summit Hill High School bell that sits in Ludlow Park, and then take his position at the head of the parade that will proceed west on Ludlow Street, round St. Joseph Catholic Church, and continue eastbound for the entire length of White Street before disbanding at the cemetery complex.
At the 10 a.m. service, Maj. Donald W.J. O'Prey, commander of Leadership Co., 2nd BN, 166th Regiment, Ft. Indiantown Gap, Annville, Pa., will deliver the keynote address.
Maj. O'Prey's command supported the 30th BCT of SC, the 1st ID, CMATT, and Special Forces units operating in Iraq from Tikrit to Baghdad. His detachment was the first Pa. Army National Guard unit sent in 2003 to combat-infested Iraq, where it completed a 16-month deployment .
He currently commands the officer commissioning schools , overseeing the commissioning of LTs and warrant officers from Pa. and candidates from up to 33 other states.
Commander W. Kevin O'Donnell will be the master of ceremonies. The invocation will be asked by Vicar Benjamin Siebert of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Summit Hill, followed by Kiley Boswell singing the National Anthem and a POW/MIA ceremony and welcoming remarks headed by Mayor McArdle.
Panther Valley High School students Stephen Hajcak and Richard Smith will render Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Logan's General Orders, respectively, while PVHS student Megan Thomas will offer In Flander's Field.
After Maj. Oprey's address, the Roll Call will be presented by Chaplain Gregory Miller while a PVHS Band drummer renders the drum roll.
Post 316 members will provide the Honor Guard salute, while cadets from the Panther Valley High School JROTC program will oversee the flag-lowering ceremony.
Remarks will then be offered by Leonard "Lenny" Ogozalek, grand marshal of the 2013 parade.
Closing remarks will be given by O'Donnell and other dignitaries, and the program will close with the benediction.
Participating in the parade this year will be:
Form on Ludlow Street, from Walnut to Market streets – Summit Hill Police, Grand Marshal Leonard "Lenny" Ogozalek, Summit Hill American Legion Post 316, Summit Hill American Legion Auxiliary Unit 316, 2013 Poppy Queen, American Legion 30th District Commander, Summit Hill Sons of the American Legion, Summit Hill Mayor Paul McArdle, Summit Hill Historical Society, Summit Hill Water Authority, Summit Hill Heritage Center, Panther Valley High School Marching Band, Panther Valley Cheerleaders, Panther Valley High School JROTC, Anthracite Little League, Summit Hill Girls' Softball, Summit Hill Cub Scouts, Summit Hill Hootenanny and Summit Hill Fire Company.
Form on Ludlow Street, from Market to Chestnut streets – Carbon/Schuylkill Marine Corps League, Our Lady of the Angels Academy Band, Little Miss Stay-at-Home Festival, Little Master Stay-at-Home Festival, Carbon County Commissioners, Carbon County Sheriff's Department, Hope of Christ Presbyterian Church, Winnie-the-Pooh Pre-School, Tom Fredericks' Classic Car, St. Gabriel's Italian Club, Jim Thorpe Area High School Marching Band, SummitHillParade.com, Panther Valley cheerleaders collecting donations for 2014 parade, Panther Valley Mayors, Sgt. Nick Heist & Co. Army Jeep, Dance Explosion, Lansford Ambulance, Lansford Fire Company, Nesquehoning Ambulance, Nesquehoning Fire Company, Lehighton Ambulance, Lehighton Fire Department, Mahoning Valley Ambulance and Mahoning Valley Fire Company.
Form in Ludlow Street, from Market to Chestnut streets – Civil War Unit Co. 81st Pa. Volunteers, Coaldale V.F.W., Coaldale V.F.W. Auxiliary, Coaldale American Legion, Coaldale Cub Pack 740, Pa. National Guard, Hometown, Coel Neamh Pipes and Drums, Carbon County Navy Club, Gloria Dillon Dance Queen Makayla Kester, Panther Valley Youth Soccer, Lansford Girl Scouts and Brownies, Pa. National Guard, Lehighton, Jim Thorpe A.O.H., Blue Eagle Drum and Bugle, Yuengling Beer Wagon, Heisler's Milk Wagon, New Columbus Fire Company, East Penn Fire Company, Tamaqua Rescue Squad, Citizen's Fire Company, Tamaqua, Bowmanstown Fire Company and Franklin Township Fire Company.
Form on Ludlow Street, from Chestnut to Oak streets – Lansford American Legion, Lansford American Legion Auxiliary, Lansford American Legion Post 123 Riders, Lansford AMVETS, Lansford Police, Marian High School Marching Band, Jeff Reigel/1979 Pierce Fire Truck, Stanley Zabo's Antique Cars, St. Luke's Healthstar Van, Grace Community Church, Carbon County United Way, Carbon County Performing Arts, Coolbreeze Imaging, Penn's Peak Radio, Coaldale Ambulance, Coaldale Fire Company, Hauto Fire Company, Hometown Fire Company, Tamaqua Ambulance, Laurel Fire Company, Weatherly Ambulance, New England/Walker Township Fire Company and Albrightsville Fire Company.
A similar service will be held on Sunday, May 26, beginning at 1 p.m. at St. Joseph Cemetery, White Bear. Henry M. Desrosiers, Carbon County's director of Veterans' Affairs, will be the keynote speaker.
Commander O'Donnell, will serve as the master of ceremonies and offer the welcome address.
The Rev. James Burdess, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Summit Hill, will ask the benediction, followed by the National Anthem by Boswell.
Mayor McArdle, a member and past commander of Post 316, will conduct the POW-MIA ceremony, followed by the welcome. Student orators will be Hajcak, Smith and Jesse Thomas, who will render In Flander's Field.
After Desrosiers' address, the Roll Call of Deceased Veterans will be read by Chaplain Miller. Members of Post 316 will provide the Honor Guard salute while Taps will be played by a member of the Panther Valley JROTC, followed by closing remarks by O'Donnell and the benediction by Rev. Burdess.