53° San Marcos
The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

San Marcos to honor veterans at 15th annual parade

Members+of+the+Combat+Veterans+Association+pose+for+a+photo%2C+Saturday%2C+Nov.+10%2C+2018%2C+at+the%26%23160%3BSan+Marcos+Public+Library.
DON ANDERS

Members of the Combat Veterans Association pose for a photo, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, at the San Marcos Public Library.

Glittery floats decorated with red, white and blue will fill downtown San Marcos this weekend when the City of San Marcos Parks and Recreation and the Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee hosts the 15th annual Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Before the festivities this year, entertainment will be provided by Dee Bartlett, a local songwriter and veteran, followed by Acapella Unlimited and a flyover from the Commemorative Air Force-Central Texas Wing.
Col. Tim Black, a resident of San Marcos, served in the Air Force for 25 years and has been a member of the Commemorative Air Force since March 2002. As former Wing Leader of the Central Texas Wing, Black said the organization strives to keep history alive by restoring and using historic aircraft in flyovers and airshows for the public.
“Our goal is to keep the greatest generation of aircraft flying for people to see,” Black said. “A part of that also means we get to honor the veterans that actually fought in the same aircraft that we preserve.”
The parade, which will start at the intersection of Hopkins Street and CM Allen Parkway, proudly showcases local civic clubs, veteran groups, military organizations, floats and bands in floats of all sizes. Among the nearly 50 groups that will be walking or driving along the parade route will be the San Marcos Lions Club, San Marcos High School Air Force JROTC and the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.
Staff Sergeant David Wood, an active duty service member with the First Battalion 23rd Marines Weapons Company, is the coordinator for Austin Toys for Tots. Wood uses his own pickup truck as the parade float for the organization and picks up toy donations alongside fellow Marines during the parade. He said last year the program served 34,389 individuals and passed out over 40,000 toys. He aims to serve over 50,000 individuals this year.
“I grew up with divorced parents, so I know what it was like to not have presents under the Christmas tree,” Wood said. “With inflation at its highest, it’s hard for a lot of families. I enjoy just being able to make a difference. You see the gratitude on the parents’ faces.”
Children five years and older are invited to join the Kiwanis Club Kids Bicycle Brigade to decorate bikes, tricycles and scooters on the Hays County Historic Courthouse lawn to ride them in a procession preceding the main parade from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
According to Kelli Whigham, the president of the Kiwanis Club of San Marcos, the first Kiwanis Club of San Marcos was formed by ordinary citizens that wanted to improve the community in February of 1923. Now, 100 years after its foundation, the organization continues to play an active role in the community through participating in programs like the Kids Bicycle Brigade, the Pumpkin Dash 5K Race and the K-Kids Club for elementary students.
“I initially joined for the community service aspect of volunteering and I wanted to set a good example for my daughter,” Whigham said. “My favorite part of the whole parade is just the fellowship of the community.”
Before the City of San Marcos hosted the Veterans Day Parade, local veterans had to coordinate their own parade and celebration for years. San Marcos and the Kiwanis Club have worked closely since 2007 to organize the festivities and involve people of all ages in community-wide events.
Lisa Morris, the recreation program manager, was with the San Marcos Department of Parks and Recreation when the mayor of San Marcos asked her to take over the department’s coordination of the Veterans Day Parade celebration. Morris said her favorite part about the parade is seeing the veterans who can proudly participate and feel acknowledged.
“This parade brings back the feeling of San Marcos being a hometown because it is to so many people,” Morris said. “There are a lot of veterans at Texas State, so it’s important to bridge the gap to recognize the veteran community.”
Local groups including the Hays County Democratic Party, the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association San Marcos Chapter and the American Veterans organization gather each year to focus on the parade’s original theme, “Honoring All Who Serve.”
The title of Grand Marshal is granted to a veteran who is nominated by the Hays County Veterans Service Office. Abelardo Loya, a U.S. Army Specialist and San Marcos resident, was selected in October as this year’s parade Grand Marshal. Loya served in the Army from 1969 to 1971 and received a Purple Heart for his injuries and the Silver Star Medal after he took action against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam.
For the first time, Lydia Chapman, a recreational therapy senior, looks forward to attending the parade and supporting fellow veterans. Chapman was an active duty member of the U.S. Air Force for 14 years. Although she left the military to care for her son as a single mother, Chapman hopes to continue her passion for service as a therapeutic recreation specialist with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“There are so many agencies here at Texas State and in San Marcos that support veterans and students alike,” Chapman said. “It’s such a great feeling to know that veterans like myself are seeing themselves represented and feeling supported by the community and its many resources.”

Donate to The University Star

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The University Star