By Corinne Messer
Moapa Valley honored its military veterans on Friday, November 11 with a parade down Overton’s Main Street and a community picnic immediately after in Overton Park.
Sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elwood Perkins Post 8336 with assistance from the MV Chamber of Commerce, this annual Veterans Day Parade began at 10 a.m. with flyovers by local pilots Tim DeBerardinis and Greg Witter in their Cherokee planes.
The parade was announced by Rick Houston and Kasen Kohlhoss who were posted halfway outside the InfoWest office.
The Civil Air Patrol led the parade, followed by local Metro officers, the Nevaday Highway Patrol.
This year’s parade grand marshal was local veteran Larry Griffiths. Griffiths has dedicated his entire life to the service of his country and has given much service to this community.
He was followed by the commander of the VFW and members of the post. Some of our local veterans even rode the tank, including Ralph Healy, Phillip Mullins, Darcy Bushman and Bryant Robison, to name a few.
The MVHS Marching Band presented upbeat patriotic music followed closely by Pirate Motion.
A long procession of local businesses, luxury cars and other attractions followed.
Cheerleaders from W. Mack Lyon and the Marinette Dance Team performed acrobatics and dances along the parade route.
A number of local dance programs were highlighted, including Fusion Dance Team, Muddy River Cloggers, Clark County Parks and Rec Dancers, and Moapa Valley Tumbling Team.
There was also the 4-H Teen Leadership Corps (TLC), floaters created by the Solomon family, Lake Mead Baptist Church, Mustang Spirit of America Horses, Wild West Jeep Club, Southern NV Racers Association, and Moapa Valley FFA.
Winners of the Moapa Valley Cinderella Pageant were in attendance as well as the Lincoln County Fairgrounds and Rodeo Queen and Princess.
Local businesses in attendance at the parade included Valley Pediatric Dental, The Inside Scoop, Sommers Team/Wardley Real Estate, Clea’s Moapa Valley Realty, Abbot Plumbing Services, America First Credit Union, Ellson’s Shop, Moapa Valley Family Dental and more. As always, Simplot Silica wowed the crowd with huge earth-moving machines driving down the high street.
MV Fire District vehicles closed the rear of the parade with blaring sirens, signaling that the parade was ending.
A great addition to the parade was the Cheyenne High School JROTC and Veterans Tribute Career & Tech Academy. Dressed in uniform and marching in straight lines, this group was an impressive sight to behold.
Local youngsters Rowdy, Axel and Raedyn said their favorites from the parade were Valley Pediatric’s big tooth float, razors and candies that were launched. Pam Duvall said she was happy the group MVHS was back in the parade after a three-year absence due to the complexity of COVID restrictions.
Immediately after the parade was the community picnic in Overton Park. The Moapa Valley Vocal Chords, a local youth choir led by Shelby Brandon, sang the national anthem.
MV Chamber sponsored the picnic and MV Rotary cooked burgers which were served by young volunteers from FFA’s Moapa Valley Chapter.
One of the picnic veterans was Claron Jorgensen who was visiting a family in Idaho. Now 90, Jorgensen served 20 years in the military, flying a C-124, an American heavy-lift cargo plane. He said his plane was used to transport tanks, helicopters and other heavy equipment as needed. He served in the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War.
Darcy Bushman, commanding officer of VFW Post 8336, felt the day went well. “I would like to thank the whole community for coming today,” Bushman said.
He also gave special thanks to Chamber of Commerce member Lori Houston for coordinating the parade, and veterans Sterling Akers and Phillip Mullins for their help.
Bushman and Houston enjoyed VFW Post 8336, Moapa Valley Chamber of Commerce President Bernie Conrique and members Pam Duvall, Kasen Kohlhoss Amy Johnson and Vanette Christensen, the Rotary Club led by President Suzy Bennett and the members of the FFA who gave their time.
“Without the hard work, time and money that volunteers in our community donate, events like this would not be possible,” said Lori Houston.