Fresno Veterans Day Parade in Peril

FRESNO, Calif.

The Veterans Day parade in supposed to happen in November, just like it has for 90 years. But for it to continue into its 91st year organizers say people in the community will need to pitch in to help our veterans.

The Fresno Veterans Day parade is a Central Valley staple. Every year thousands of veterans are honored locally and the parade is even televised on the Armed Forces Network. But this year a lack of donations from major sponsors is putting the parade in jeopardy.

Parade chairman, Bill Dietzel said, "If we don't get funded and get the monies that we need to put the parade on its going to have to be canceled."

Dietzel has worked hard over the past ten years to make this event a big extravaganza. But he says it doesn't come cheap and they're looking at a $30,000 deficit.

"We've already sent out all of our request to the people last year that's always supported us but this economy has also put them in a situation to where they can no longer fund us too," added Dietzel.

In the past the city of Fresno would chip in roughly five thousand dollars. But its own budget deficit has limited the amount of what they can pony up.

"We've committed to the traffic control, police support, and community sanitation. Parks will be out here in full force to make sure that the downtown area is pristine for parade as we always have," said Fresno assistant city manager Bruce Rudd.

The ones who seem to have the most to lose are our local veterans. Those at the American Legion Post in central Fresno were ready to bring back their custom float and introduce a new vintage fire truck to fans this fall.

"Without this parade I think, I think the whole thing would be a great loss," said local veteran Lewis Edwards.

New contributions however are starting to come in. Upon hearing the news of the veterans committee's financial troubles Granville Homes Vice President Jeff Roberts told Action News he's ready to chip in $2,500 and challenges other companies to do the same.

"It's more important now than it's ever been and so we'd like to be the first to step up and offer our help," said Jeff Roberts.

Dietzel says if they can't come up with the money he'll pull the plug on the parade in about six weeks.

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Fresno, California, "The All American Veteran's City," is asking for your support and donations to enable this year's parade, which honors our active military and Veterans, to go forward. For more information on how you can get involved, join us at our first meeting to be held September 21, American Legion Post 509, 6pm, 3509 No. First Street Fresno.

The opening ceremonies of this year's 2010 Veterans Day Parade will begin at 10:30 am, rain or shine, in front of Fresno City Hall on Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11, 2010.

Send donations by check made payable to Fresno Veterans Day Parade, 4877 E Norwich Ave, Fresno, California, 93726, 559-291-1239.

PLEASE ORDER YOU ENTRY FORM FOR THE VETERANS DAY PARADE.

Billdietzel@yahoo.com

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