The people have spoken, and they want a bigger and better Memorial Day Parade in Honey Brook.
Frank Fredella, a member of Wawassan Post 422 of the American Legion (also known as The Honey Brook American Legion), and Donna Horvath, Chair of the Honey Brook Community Partnership, are two key figures in seeing a more expansive parade become a reality, and they have been working together with other community members and organizations toward making the May 27 Honey Brook Memorial Day Parade the most memorable in recent history.
Fredella, a former Commandant and Post 422’s current historian, said that he recently looked at old pictures of the parade, which then enjoyed larger turnouts compared to the latest parades, and felt that something needed to be done to help this Memorial Day tradition gain its highest possible levels of attendance and support.
“(Legion members) looked at how the parade has not been popular in recent years, and we said to ourselves ‘this is not right’,” stated Fredella.
Fredella told those at the Legion that he wanted to bring the Honey Brook Community Partnership into the picture because the issue was bigger than the Legion – it was about the community at large. The Honey Brook Community Partnership was more than happy to get involved.
“The Honey Brook Community Partnership is always looking for projects that bring the community together and facilitate cooperation,’ Horvath explained. “Our goal was to help in any way, so we brought in different community organizations and formed a monthly (parade) committee. The businesses community and other organizations came together because everyone is interested in seeing this grow and prosper.”
When word of a concerted effort to improve upon the parade ‘got around’ the support grew quickly, with organization such as the Honey Brook Lions Club, the Honey Brook Harmony Day Committee, the Honey Brook Women’s Club, and area Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups coming into the fold.
“There are a lot of people involved in this because there is a lot of passion for this parade,” said Horvath.
Among those participating in this year’s parade will be veterans’ groups from Tel Hai, Knob Hill, and Heatherwood.
Further, the parade will be open for any veteran who wants to join in the parade. There will be no need to contact anyone ahead of time, Fredella explained, simply show up at Post 422 at 9 a.m. on the day of the parade so that all can organize for the parade’s 10 a.m. start.
“We thought of the veterans who can’t march,” Horvath explained, “and John’s Supply agreed to volunteer the company’s new flatbed to allow those veterans to ride in the parade. It’s neat when you have people working together.”
There will be at least 100 kids and 100 adults marching in the parade, and that is before adding in the Honey Brook Fire Company and the Fire Police.
“The fire company and the fire police always support us, and God bless them,” said Fredella. “We also receive a lot of support from (Honey Brook Borough Police) Chief Ely.”
As is custom, the different internal groups making up Post 422 will all be involved. The Legion Auxiliary will be making red, white and blue ribbons for lapels for veterans, the Sons of the American Legion will be handing out small American flags to children, and the recently formed Legion Riders of Post 422 with their motorcycles will make an inaugural Memorial Day Parade appearance.
Another first for this year’s parade will be the Memorial Day Bike Contest, which is being organized by the Honey Brook Women’s Club. Kids aged 4 – 16 can enter their patriotically decorated bikes, scooters, or wagons (pulled by participants’ parents/guardians) will appear in the parade. There will be different categories and age groups judged, and those deemed the most patriotic will receive prizes provided by Hickory House.
Pat Frankel, a member of the Honey Brook Women’s Club and the club’s liaison to the parade committee said that the idea for the contest came from the parade’s own past.
“I have lived in Honey Brook for 42 years (and) kids on bikes with red, white, and blue streamers used to ride in the parade. The kids always got a large charge out of it, so the Women’s Club thought it would be a great idea,” she said.
By involving the kids in Memorial Day, Fredella believes that they can learn the importance of acknowledging the sacrifices of those who came before them.
“If the children do not understand what came before them, and what patriotism is about, then we will cease to exist,” he said.
The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Wawassan Post 422 (4820 Horseshoe Pike ) in Honey Brook and head east on Horseshoe Pike. The route will then leave Horseshoe Pike to visit the cemeteries of Honey Brook Presbyterian Church and Honey Brook United Methodist Church, where the legionnaires will perform short memorial ceremonies for veterans in those cemeteries.
Fredella said that the public is encouraged to observe the ceremonies, and should feel welcome to follow them to the cemeteries.
“If they want to join us in honoring a vet I will carry them piggyback,” he said.
Following those ceremonies the legionnaires will return to Post 422 for dedications at their own memorials, after which all participants are invited back to the social hall for refreshments.
The public is encouraged to support Memorial Day by bringing banners, posters, etc.
For questions and information contact Frank Fredella at FrankFredella@msn.com or 610-273-0213 (groups interested in becoming involved in the Honey Brook Memorial Day Parade are encouraged to call).
For Bike Contest questions/info call Pat at 610-273-2461
Find the Tri County Record on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TriCountyRecord, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TriCountyRecord, and search for Berks-Mont News, our six-publication newsgroup, on Google Plus.