Thousands turn out to salute veterans during regional parade, ceremony in Folsom

By: Laura Newell, Of the Telegraph
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Thousands came out Monday to celebrate veterans in Folsom’s 12th annual Wayne Spence Veterans Parade.

The parade theme was “Veterans – The Heart of America” and approximately 3,000 people lined the parade route to cheer on parade marchers.

“Veterans Day is to honor our veterans and Folsom has a large veterans population to honor,” said Ron Hawn, commander of the American Legend Folsom Post 362.

Hawn, a veteran, served in the Air Force from 1958 through 1962. He has been a Folsom resident for 20 years.

Entrants included marching bands, drill teams, veterans groups and scout and youth groups. There was also an Air Force flyover with a T38 from Beale Air Force Base.

One group of marchers including boys from the Folsom American Little League came out to reenact historical baseball moments throughout the parade.

Connor Kelly, 12, of Folsom, marched with the Folsom American Little League.

“It’s important to celebrate Veterans Day because lots of people went overseas to fight and protect us,” Kelly said. “So this is our way of honoring them.”

Many local veterans also came out to show their support.

Mel Savery, 74, of Citrus Heights, rode an antique tracker in the parade with his group. Savery was an Air Force Navigator who served from 1960 to 1968.

“I think it’s important to come out here and remember what we did as veterans,” Savery said. “For the younger generations, this day is important to remind them of what we did and why we are free today.”

Scote Mathis, 64, of Folsom, served in the Air Force from 1968 to 1970.

“It’s important that we keep veterans in our minds and hearts by successfully putting together this event every year,” Mathis said. “That is what veterans are all about – coming together with your community to perform your duties and preserve your community.”

Four veterans shared grand marshal duties this year including June Greig, PFC Marine Corps, who served in World War II; Willie Golden, Master Sergeant, Army, who served in Korea; Len Dobish, 1st Lieutenant, Army, who received a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam; and Don Currier, Brigadier General, Commander, California Army National Guard, who served in Operation Desert Storm.

Many youth groups including girl scouts and boy scouts also marched in the parade.

Nathon Roth, 7, of El Dorado Hills, marched with his Cub Scouts Troop 465.

“We support our soldiers,” Roth said.

Matthew Drahmann, 7, of El Dorado Hills, also marched with Cub Scouts Troop 465, and said he is there marching to honor his relatives that served.

Ashley Reckers, 7, of Folsom, marched alongside her Brownie Troop 4121.

“Veterans serve our country so we are out here today to honor our veterans,” Reckers said.