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Carbon County Veterans parade is Sunday in Jim Thorpe

  • The American Legion Post 123 Riders of Lansford ride during the 2014 Carbon County Veterans Day Parade in Nesquehoning. AMY MILLER/TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO Copyright - Zubek-Miller Photography
    The American Legion Post 123 Riders of Lansford ride during the 2014 Carbon County Veterans Day Parade in Nesquehoning. AMY MILLER/TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO Copyright - Zubek-Miller Photography
Published November 05. 2015 12:43PM

The Carbon County Veterans Council announced the annual event will be held on Sunday in Jim Thorpe, with a rain date of Nov. 15. This year's theme is "Honoring All Who Served" and is hosted by the Dolan-Jones - Martino American Legion Post 0304 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 294. Participating in this high-energy commemoration is a great way to thank all those who served our country, protecting our freedoms.

The grand marshal of this year's parade is Charles Wildoner of Jim Thorpe. He was born in East Mauch Chunk on Oct. 7, 1925, the eldest son of Lucy and Edward Wildoner.

In July 1943, two weeks after graduating from East Mauch Chunk High School, he entered the Coast Guard and trained at its base in Brooklyn, New York.

Following training, Wildoner served for a time at the Coast Guard's base at Rockland, Maine, and then transferred to the Caribbean, serving on the Cutter Marian as a radio man. He was transferred to Southampton, England, and assigned to channel patrol duties during the invasion of Normandy.

Wildoner was honorably discharged with the rank of RM 3/C in April 1946, at which time he returned to his hometown and commenced working as an insurance broker, a position he holds to this day.

In 1950, he married Joan O'Donnell from Coaldale, and they had three children, Cathryn Porambo, Carole Walbert and Charlene Grant. They remained a devoted couple until Joan's passing in 2014. In addition to his business activities, Wildoner has always been active in community affairs.

He served as commander of the Jim Thorpe American Legion Post 304 for two years in 1946 and 1947, and is also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the U.S. Navy Club. He served as Jim Thorpe's first borough secretary and business manager for several years, and was chairman of the Carbon County Planning Commission from 1960 to 1970. In 1971, he was elected as a Carbon County Commissioner, a position he held for 17 years until he retired from it. He currently serves as chairman of the board of the Mauch Chunk Trust Company.

Wildoner is a lifelong member of St. Joseph's Church and Parish in Jim Thorpe.

The parade will be telecast live on Blue Ridge Communications TV-13 with the reviewing stand directly across from the American Legion Post 0304 on Sixth Street. Free American flags will be distributed to children (one per child) at the reviewing stand while supplies last.

Parade participants are required to register at the Jim Thorpe High School 1 Olympian Way and Fern Street. Lineups start forming at 12:30 p.m. and all participants are asked to be in place by 1:45 p.m.

The parade will be exiting the Jim Thorpe High School, turning left onto Center Street, proceeding to Ninth Street and turning right onto Ninth Street to North Street.

A brief service will be held at the WWII Memorial. At North Street the parade will turn left and proceed to Sixth Street and will turn left onto Sixth Street. A brief service will be held in front of the American Legion. At Sixth and Center streets the parade will turn right onto Center Street and proceed to Second Street, where the parade will disband.

Participants and volunteers will be shuttled back to Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall, Skating Rink (Lower Floor), on 10th Street for complimentary refreshments immediately following the parade.

Division 1

Jim Thorpe Police Department, Chief Schatz and Mayor Sofranko; American Legion Post 304, Color Guard, Jim Thorpe; Parade Grand Marshal Charles Wildoner; Jim Thorpe Olympian High School Marching Band; The American Legion 30th District Commander, Stephen J. DeFranco; state Rep. Doyle Heffley, 122nd Legislative District; Carbon County Director Veterans Affairs, Henry Desrosiers; Sen. John Yudichak's office, Brad Hurley; American Legion Post 304 Auxiliary, Jim Thorpe; Carbon County Commissioners Wayne Nothstein, Thomas Gerhard and William O'Gurek; Carbon County Sheriff's Office, Tony Harvilla; Jim Thorpe Class of 1964; Girl Scout Service Unit 309, Jim Thorpe; Cub Scout Pack 138, Jim Thorpe; Girl Scout Troops of Albrightsville (30136, 30424, 30425); Cub Scout Pack 597, Albrightsville; Blue Eagles Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps; Asa Packer Mansion Museum; Jim Thorpe Fire Department, Diligent Fire Company, The Phoenix Hose Company, The Fairview Hose Company.

Division 2

Nesquehoning United Veterans Organization (Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8008, American Legion Post 172 and VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 8008); Panther Valley High School Band; Panther Valley High School JROTC; American Legion Post 316, Summit Hill; Navy Club of Carbon County; American Legion Post 123, Lansford; American Legion Post 170, Coaldale; Perseverance Jazz Band; Nesquehoning Girl Scouts; Jukebox Cruisers Car Club; New Columbus Fire Company; American Fire Company 1, Lansford; Diligence Fire Company No. 1, Summit Hill; Coaldale Volunteer Fire Company No. 1.

Division 3

Vietnam Veterans Organization of Carbon County; Lehighton Area High School Indian Pride Band; American Legion Auxiliary Unit 314, Lehighton; American Legion Auxiliary Unit 314 Miss Poppy, Lehighton; Girl Scouts Service Unit 734, Lehighton; Boy Scout Troop 82, Lehighton; Gregory Badger Air Calliope; Stan Zabo's Antique Cars; Yenser's Tree Farm; American Legion Post 360, Weatherly; Weatherly Area High School Marching Band; American Legion Post 383, Beaver Meadows; Regional EMS & Critical Care Inc.; Lehighton Fire Department; Mahoning Valley Ambulance Association; Mahoning Valley Volunteer Fire Company No. 1; Lake Harmony Volunteer Fire Company.

Division 4

United Veterans Organization Color Guard, Palmerton (American Legion Post 269 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7134); Palmerton Area High School Marching Band; Valor Clinic Foundation; Joseph Plechary - Palmerton VFW/Legion - '42 Ford Jeep; Schuylkill-Carbon Marine Corps League Honor Guard, Detachment 626; The ARC of NEPA; Carbon County Lions Lioness Fair Association, fair queen and court; Carbon United Soccer Club; Rajah Oriental Band; Carbon County Shrine Club; Rajah Shrine Angler's Club; Forks of the Delaware Tin Lizzies; American Legion Post 16, Slatington M36A2 Military Cargo, Mike Marino; West End Fire Company 2, Palmerton; Bowmanstown Volunteer Fire Company.

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