The 11th annual Veterans Day parade in Oneonta is set for Saturday, Nov. 3, beginning at 10 a.m. Anyone wishing to participate by entering a float can do so by picking up an entry form at the Blount County Memorial Museum or downloading one from the museum’s website at blountmuseum.org/gheart.html. Entry forms must be received by Tuesday, Oct. 30.
Museum curator Amy Rhudy encourages all clubs, civic groups, police and fire departments, businesses, churches, scouting troops, and any other organizations to participate. Veterans who wish to ride in the parade can do so by contacting her at the museum. Veterans will be provided a car to ride in, she said. She also implores the entire Blount County community to turn out to watch the parade. “Please, come and support the veterans of Blount County.”
The celebration of veterans begins on Friday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m., at the Oneonta Worship Center where a dinner will be held in their honor. The dinner is for veterans and their spouses only. Free tickets can be picked up at the museum.
Rhudy said the idea for a parade came about because of Alabama’s Operation Grateful Heart, a program that began in 2004 under former Gov. Bob Riley. Its mission is to make sure military families receive, according to the mandate outlined by the Alabama Department of Labor, “appropriate recognition, tangible support, and neighborly care.”
Rhudy said she, John Trantham, Charles Carr, and Ed and Beverly Herd were inspired to begin Operation Grateful Heart Blount County in 2008. The museum’s role was a natural fit because it was originally established to honor veterans. Veterans Lester Hallman and Donnie Jackson are the current president and vice-president, respectively, of Operation Grateful Heart Blount County.
Besides the dinner and parade, the museum offers other services to veterans and military families year-round. Families who have a loved one serving overseas on active duty can bring packages to the museum and shipping will be paid for by Operation Grateful Heart as long as the shipment is boxed in a postal service priority flat rate box.
For more information about the parade or Operation Grateful Heart Blount County, call Rhudy at the museum at 625-6905.