Big thanks to Veterans Parade

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This is a belated “thank you” to Cynthia Haines and the Veterans Parade Committee of 2009. It was a tremendous honor to be chosen as the Grand Marshall of the Veterans Day Parade and to represent the Vietnam Veterans of Auburn. The theme “Welcome Home, Vietnam Veterans” really hit home with many of our local veterans. Some of us have for years been meeting for breakfast before attending the Veterans Parade, but like most Vietnam veterans we were not joiners and avoided the “spotlight.” I think it started to change three years ago when Vietnam veterans Larry Webber and Al Baldoni decided to join the march down Lincoln Way. Then two years ago they were joined by Mike Gregersen, Mike Swisley and others. The 2009 parade saw many more Vietnam veterans come forward and I have to believe their numbers will grow in 2010. I would also like to thank Gus Thomson and Ben Furtado of the Auburn Journal for their excellent piece that helped get the word out. And I would be remiss not to thank the local members of the Board of Directors of the Friends of Vinh Son Orphanage, which now supports six Montagnard orphanages in Kontum, Vietnam: Pat McKee, Hank Gonzales, Mike Gregersen, Bart Ruud and Al Brooks. Thanks, guys, for all the hard work helping these very special children. The story goes on at Dave Chaix, Auburn