OCTOBER 24, 2012
It's time once again to honor and recognize our Veterans with the 16th annual VA Veterans Day Parade and surrounding activities. The Marshals announcement and display opening is the first of several events that will help lead up to the parade on Monday, Nov. 12th at 11 a.m. The Parade Essay Breakfast will be held on Nov. 1 at 8 a.m. at the VA Ambulatory Care Clinic, and there will be float decorating on weekend.
Phoenix VA Health Care System announces Grand Marshals for the VA Veterans Day Parade 2012
Parade salutes veterans of conflicts since World War II
PHOENIX — Valley Veterans of service from World War II through Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF - Afghanistan) serving as Veterans Grand Marshals in the VA Veterans Day Parade will be:
• Sam Fierstein, of Chandler, who served with the U.S. Navy during World War II seeing action in many of the major battles of the Pacific Theater. Fierstein is a member of the Jewish War Veterans.
• Peter Haas, of Scottsdale, a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, Purple Heart Medal Recipient and Past Chapter Commander with the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
• Thomas Collins, of Chandler, a retired Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force, who served in Vietnam and was held as a Prisoner of War by the North Vietnamese for more than seven years.
• April Wise, of Phoenix, who served with the U.S. Navy for 13 years, including Operation Enduring Freedom. Wise suffers from both Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She credits the therapies from VA in saving her life. (Unfortunately Wise has been called out of town during this event but is available by phone for interviews)
• Cooper (Nels) Brannan, of Sun City, Corporal and platoon leader in the U.S. Marine Corps in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Purple Heart Recipient. The loss of part of his left hand in combat didn’t prevent him from moving on to fulfill his dream of playing professional baseball. Brannan signed with the San Diego Padres in February 2007. He pitched in 20 games for the Rookie-level Arizona League Padres in 2007, finishing with a 9.69 ERA and a 1-3 record, and the Class-A Eugene Emeralds in 2008. He pitched for the American Defenders of New Hampshire of the independent Can-Am League in 2009.
Celebrity Grand Marshal: It is an honor for VA to have Entertainer Wayne Newton as our Celebrity Grand Marshal. Newton has a big heart for the military and Veterans serving with the USO and performing for the troops at home and abroad. He now serves as Chairman of the Celebrity Circle for the USO. Newton will be in the Parade on November 12th.
The annual VA Veterans Day Parade will kick off at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 12 (traditionally the parade is held on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, but moves to the federal holiday on Nov. 12 this year). The parade is supported by Honoring Arizona’s Veterans, a charitable 501c3 who supports VA and the VA Veterans Day Parade knowing our Veterans deserve recognition and support for their service to our country.
The parade theme for 2012 is “Healing Wounds, Honoring Their Sacrifice.” Now in its 16th year, the VA Veterans Day Parade is one of the premier Veterans Day parades in the nation, with more than 40,000 spectators. The Phoenix-based commemoration is one of the largest such events in the country and has been designated as a Regional Site by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs as part of the President's efforts for celebrating the holiday.
The parade will begin at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center grounds at Seventh Street and Indian School Road in Phoenix. The parade will head north on Seventh Street at Montecito, turn west on Camelback Road, and turn north on Central Avenue to Montebello, ending at Bethany Home.