Originally Published: November 2, 2018 7:47 p.m.
Hometown heroes – the men and women who left their Prescott homes to serve their country in conflicts all over the world – will lead this year’s Veterans Day Parade.
Set for 11 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 10, in downtown Prescott, the parade will feature five grand marshals – all veterans from the Prescott area who served in various military roles and world conflicts.
Also, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice ending World War I, the parade will remember the Yavapai County residents who fought and died in that war.
The parade’s opening ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. on the main stage at the intersection of Cortez and Union streets. In partnership with local resident Betty Bourgault, who compiled the list of local WWI casualties, the ceremony will include the reading of the names of the 31 Yavapai County men who died.
Of this year’s parade theme, “Honoring Hometown Heroes,” Prescott Recreation and Events Coordinator Michelle Stacy-Schroeder said, “We wanted to honor Prescott-area born and raised – people who have gone off to serve their country.”
The five grand marshals include:
• Calvin Cordes, 92, who served in the U.S. Army from 1945-1947 in the Korea Occupation Force. The parade bio information states: “Known as Big Cal, he worked as an infantryman and in ordinance during the Korea Occupation Force prior to the start of the Korean War.” It adds: “Cal has been an icon in Prescott, having been born here in 1926, an educator for 26 years, and heavily involved in youth sports.”
• Benny Enriquez, 84, retired master sergeant, who served in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1975 – one tour in Korea and two tours in Vietnam. The bio information states: “Mr. Enriquez was an expert in navigation, jungle warfare and marksmanship, and served as a drill sergeant.” He is a double Purple Heart recipient, as well as having received three Bronze Stars and two Silver Stars. After moving to Hawaii for a time, Enriquez returned to Prescott and currently lives at the Prescott VA Community Living Center (CLC).
• Garnet Nell Coe, 77, served in the U.S. Navy from 1959 to 1964. The parade bio information states: “Ms. Coe served as one of the first female air traffic controllers. Her husband served in the Navy, as well as five other members of her family.”
• Samie L. McPherson Jr., 54, who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1984 to 2012. “Known as ‘the Bull,’ Sam worked as an electronics technician on Minutemen III and Peacekeeper Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles,” the bio states. “Sam was raised in Prescott and is a 1981 graduate of Prescott High School as well as the nephew of Grand Marshal Garnet Nell Coe.”
• Kristine Marie Shook, 67, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1977 to 2006. She served in Desert Storm/Shield and OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom). She retired as a Chief Warrant Officer 4 and is a member of the Marine Corps League.
The grand marshals will ride in Corvettes provided by the Prescott Vette Sette Corvette Club. The American Legion Post 6 will lead the parade with the colors.
While the parade typically takes place on Nov. 11, Stacy-Schroeder said the organizers chose to conduct this year’s event on Saturday, Nov. 10, because of the difficulty of coordinating the necessary Sunday street closures with the churches located along the parade route.
“With Nov. 11 falling on a Sunday, trying to get street closures in the downtown area was hard to come by,” Stacy-Schroeder said. And because the parade takes place at 11 a.m., when many people would still be attending church services on Sunday, she said the Saturday parade will allow more people to attend and participate.
The city partners with the Northern Arizona Veterans Administration in putting on the parade, Stacy-Schroeder said, adding that a number of sponsors also assist, including the title sponsor, Arizona Public Service, and other sponsors Barrett Propane, Dorn Homes, Affinity RV, Safeway, and the Prescott Vette Sette.
Mary Dillinger, public affairs officer for the Northern Arizona VA said, “It’s so wonderful how the community comes together for the parade.”
The event typically attracts thousands of spectators to downtown Prescott. Its 86 entries will circle the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, beginning on Cortez Street and heading to Goodwin and Montezuma streets, and ending on Willis Street.
The parade will feature a number of crowd favorites, such as the Prescott High School Pride of Prescott Marching Band, the Chino Valley Pride Marching Band, and the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Army and Air Force ROTC groups.
Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-445-3333, ext. 2034, or email@example.com.
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