Most Viewed Stories
Past and present honored
Thousands brave cold to see the parade
It was a bittersweet Veterans Day Parade Monday for Colette Parnell.
The Porterville native sat in her folding chair along Main Street Monday morning, awaiting her 12-year-old grandson’s performance in the Sequoia Middle School marching band. It’s events like these, though, that remind her of her father who served in World War II.
“I didn’t realize the service that he did,” she said. “After he passed away, I found his discharge papers and learned more about my father after he died. He never talked about it when he was alive.”
It was only after rummaging through her father’s discharge papers that she learned he was a Purple Heart recipient.
“He never shared that. He served in the Pacific theatre and he ended up in Okinawa where he was injured,” Parnell said. “It was really an eye-opener. He was a very private individual and to learn that of my father was just amazing.”
Parnell was one of thousands who lined Main Street in downtown Porterville to watch the 94th annual Veterans Day Parade Monday.
The parade, with the theme “Remembering the Past and Imagining the Future,” began at Morton Avenue and marched down Main Street to Walnut Avenue.
Several entries drew response, including the always favorite Shriner’s in their tin lizzies, the Rockford School float that featured Lincoln and the Odyssey of the Mind float. Of course, there were plenty of classic cars and military vehicles, horses and marching bands, 13 of them in all.
Also participating were the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion Post 20, numerous decorated floats and antique vehicles and several local dignitaries like Porterville Mayor Virginia Gurrola and Tulare County Supervisor Mike Ennis.
U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Jaime Garcia was this year’s grand marshal. Also in the parade was Lindsay native Brig. Gen. Keith Jones as honorary grand marshal, the second in the parade’s history.
Thousands lined the parade route, with the heaviest crowds found between Morton and Olive avenues.
While some attended the parade to honor those who have since passed, who never came home, or who are overseas, others, like Victor and Mary Ruth Soto, attended to support their son, who has lived to tell.
The 20-year Navy veteran who recently retired from the reserves, drove a motorcycle in the procession with his daughter tagging along in the back.
“He was over in Iraq during the war and was with the First Marine Expeditionary Force,” Victor Soto said. “I’m very proud of him, he served his country and went to war for us. I’m just glad he came back home.”
Parade Chairman Ed Flory, who has helped organize the Veterans Day Parade for nearly four decades, said this year’s event went well.
“I thought it went very well. There was a minimal amount of no shows and the crowd was a little lighter than usual which may be attributed to the cold morning,” he said.
Still, the parade managed to stay in order and lasted slightly under two hours, Flory added.
-Sweepstakes Trophy, SETCO Republican Women
-Mayor’s Trophy, Rockford School
-Queen’s Trophy, United Filipino Americans
-Princess Trophy, Odyssey of the Mind
-General Chairman’s Trophy, MHS Footbal Boosters
-Grand Marshal Trophy, Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout PK 139
First Trophy, Emblem Club
Second Trophy, Toys for Tots
-1st Trophy, Rollin’ Rellics
-2nd Trophy, Happy Honkers
-1st Trophy, Tulare County Fire Department
-2nd Trophy, Jim Rummell
1st Trophy, Fred Hughes
2nd Trophy, Doris Williams
Vintage Military Vehicle:
-1st Trophy, Richard Delisio
-2nd Trophy, Dave Willis
-1st Trophy, Patriot Guard
-2nd Trophy, Legion Riders
- 1st Trophy, CSATE Honor Guard
- 2nd Trophy, PC Native American Club
-1st Trophy, Destiny Cheer Team
-2nd Trophy, Lindsay Pathfinders
Horse Drawn Vehicle:
-1st Trophy, Springville Sierra Rodeo Association
-2nd Trophy, Jackass Mail Run
-1st Trophy, Woodlake Rodeo Queen, Natlyn Maha
-2nd Trophy, Springville Rodeo Queen, Ally Henry
-1st Trophy, Success Gymkhana
-2nd Trophy, Tulare County Cowgirls
-1st Trophy, CalFire
-2nd Trophy, Porterville Sheltered Workshop