The parking lot of the Porterville Veterans Memorial building became the set of a virtual parade on Saturday morning, as several different groups met at the building to shoot segments for a short film that will feature Porterville area veterans and air on local news channels on Veterans Day.

American Legion Commander Don Dowling organized the shooting of the film, and was excited to be out with his fellow American Legion members on Saturday morning. 

“My heart is pumping,” said Dowling. “I’m really excited about this. I’ve been working on it now for the past three months.”

After those months of hard work, Dowling’s vision took the first steps into becoming a reality. On Saturday morning, just before 10 a.m., a crew of two men armed with three mounted cameras, a small handheld camera and a drone, shot every segment they needed for the film in under an hour.

While the producers still need to piece the footage together, and edit in Dowling’s voice over the top of it, it’s only a matter of weeks before the short film is aired across the Central Valley.

First to film their segment was the American Legion Colorguard. The group of four men carried the colors across the parking lot. Presenting the colors for the virtual parade were Allen Pundt, Mike Rook, Mike Alba and Ruben Bonia. It took three takes for the camera crew to get every angle they needed.

Following the color guard, a group of Porterville area veterans got into formation and filmed their segment. Their walkthrough was intended to replicate the same walk veterans would take in the actual Veterans Day parade on Main Street. As the group passed Dowling, they saluted, just as they would when passing the announcers at the traditional parade.

Next to film their segment was the Porterville Memorial Board composed of Allen Pundt, Mike Rook, John Alba and Don Dowling. Following the board, the Sons of the American Legion Post 779 took their walk across the parking lot while being filmed. The group of young men carried a banner promoting the campaign of 3rd Area Commander Edward Patino. Patino, who followed behind the young men, is running for 3rd Area Vice Commander in the upcoming election.

It took two takes for the film crew to get the best shots of Grand Marshal John Alba, who walked with Veterans Homecoming Queen Madison Chapman, accompanied by her father Brian Chapman. Alba was drafted into the military in 1966. He served in Vietnam and is the recipient of two Purple Hearts.

Just before filming the big finale, the American Legion Executive Board filmed their segment. Mike Smith, Steve Soto, Brian Adams, Ruben Bonia, Bob Atchley, Allen Pundt and

Don Dowling, had a blast marching through the parking lot. While they marched, they recited familiar military cadences and laughed amongst each other.

To wrap up the filming, the American Legion Riders fired up their motorcycles and revved their engines for the cameras. The Riders rolled past the cameras, revving on the throttle as they passed. Most of the motorcycles were ornamented with American Flags that whipped in the wind behind them. After the Riders passed in front of the cameras twice, Dowling got everyone together to film one last shot. The grand finale for the virtual parade featured each participant walking in a group. Chapman and Dowling led the pack, and many of the veterans who were participating shouted out military cadences. 

“I am so excited to show the City of Porterville that we care,” siad Dowling. “This is one of our number one actions; we love it. We veterans do it because we love Porterville. We love our nation, and our county, and our city. And we’re proud; we’re really proud of it. We just want to show our city how really proud we are.”

The virtual parade will be broadcasted on KSEE24 and CBS47 on November 11.

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