By JACK SIEVERT
The Dunkirk Joint Veterans Council says "thank you" for a memorable Memorial Day 2012. It was a picture perfect day to salute our veterans and remember those who have sacrificed for our freedom.
The council wants to thank everyone that participated or attended this year's Memorial Day Services and Parade. We appreciate your involvement and support in honoring our veterans on this day.
To all of our city officials, Police Department, Fire Officials and Parade Committee that worked diligently with us, we thank you. City police and fire police provided excellent coverage of our entire Parade Route to keep our public safe.
A special thank you is extended to our Honorable Mayor A.J. Dolce; Council Woman-at-Large, Stephanie Kiyak; First Ward Councilman Michael Michalski; Second Ward Councilman William Rivera; Third Ward Councilman Adelino Gonzalez; Fourth Ward Councilwoman, Stacy Szukala; City Clerk Lacey Lawrence; Police Chief David Ortolano; Police Capt. Ken Kaus; Fire Chief Keith Ahlstrom; Fire Police Director, Don Velzy; Anthony Gugino, Streets and Parks Department; Tom Rozumalski, Street and Parks Department; City Assessors Office Thomas Mleczko; OBSERVER Publisher John D'Agostino and the entire OBSERVER Staff.
We were honored to have the following dignitaries pay tribute to our Veterans: Principal Speaker, Cmdr. George Burns III, USCG (Ret.); Secondary Speaker, Lt. Christopher Wilson, USCG Sea Partners Campaign; Guest Speaker, Capt. David Banach, USN (Ret.); Invocation, Rev Walter Werbicki and Benediction, Dr. Robert Gage; Sandra Tapasto, DJVC Chaplain and SSgt. Joseph Gullo III.
Special recognition to this year's Grand Marshal Arthur Casella; Master-of-Ceremonies, D'Agostino; Parade Commentator, David Rowley, WDOE news director; Veterans Affairs Service Officer, L.J. Hurley; Parade Captain, David Zielinski; 1st Div. Marshal; Cmdr. George Burns III, USCG (Ret.); 2nd Div. Marshal, Ralph Moch; 3rd Div. Marshal David Dow and 4th Div. Parade Marshal, Keith Ahlstrom, Fire Chief City of Dunkirk.
A sincere thank you to the participating Honor and Color Guards in this years' Service and Parade; Dunkirk Joint Veterans Council Honor Guard and Color Guard consisting of David Huels, Thomas Rugani, Kenneth DeLong, Edziu Kaus and Ron Kulpa; American Legion Post 62 all Veterans Honor Guard, John Miga, Cmdr.; Professional Fire Fighters Local 616 Honor Guard and ELKS BPO 922 Flag Review.
A special thank you is given to Amanda Tuggle and Hannah Wentz for their presentation of the National Anthem and closure of Service with God Bless America. We extend thanks to our locally renowned artist and musician for his presentation of Taps, Barney Kuzara.
Recognition is given to the following organizations, clubs, stores, restaurants and individuals that donated monies/candies to make Memorial Day 2012 a wonderful and memorable day: Kurgan family in memory of Paul Kurgan; Columbus Club of Dunkirk; Rainbow Inn of Dunkirk; David Ptak, Applebee's Gen. Mgr.; John George, Applebee's Mgr.; Walmart; Tops; P&G Foods; Dollar General; Save-A-Lot; Walgreens and Jim's Dry Cleaners of Dunkirk.
For providing donated transportation for our city officials, dignitaries and veterans we thank Paul's Limousine Service; C.A.R.T.S.; Larry Dietzen; SSgt. Joseph Gullo, III and Mrs. Jack (Carol) Hood.
Additional thank you to Mr. Gary Haase who orchestrates bringing in hundreds of Little Leaguers; Mr. Kevin Matteson who organizes the Lake Shore Street Rod, Amvets and Sons of Liberty.
To our parade committee for all their assistance in organizing this year's events; to our speakers for their meaningful and well delivered speeches; to our entire parade staff, a heartfelt job well done from the DJVC for making Memorial Day 2012 a most memorable day.
May God Bless America and keep our Great Nation Free.
Jack Sievert is Dunkirk Joint Veterans Council commander and parade marshal.