The theme for the upcoming parade is “Maspeth Honors Its MIA/POWs.”
Assemblywoman Marge Markey officated the installation ceremony. The new slate of officers is as follows: Ernie Thompson, president; Carmela Clark, first vice president; Pat Toro, second vice president; Peter Wolyniec, recording secretary; Karen Burke, corresponding secretary; Ken Rudzewick, treasurer; John Kempisty, sergeant-at-arms.
“It’s another step upwards,” said Thompson of his new title. “I want to maintain exactly what they’ve been doing in the past years, running an excellent Memorial Day Parade and continuing the community work. It’s a great organization.”
John Dolan, who was unable to attend the meeting, and Mary Anne Walter were chosen as the Grand marshals for the 2010 parade.
Though she was never a veteran herself, Walter was deeply affected by the Vietnam veterans’ denial of a heroic return due to the bitter feelings surrounding the war. As a third grade teacher at P.S. 89 in Elmhurst, she makes community service toward veterans an integral part of her students’ education.
One of her students has a brother who is in the military and serving overseas, so with Walter’s encouragement, her 28 students have started writing letters to him. She also organizes local Girl Scouts to take an annual collection of hats, scarves, and socks for the veteran’s shelter on Borden Avenue and runs the yearly Maspeth Memorial Day essay contest.
“I don’t feel like I deserve this, it’s such a big honor,” said Walter. “I think veterans deserve all the support we can give them for what they’ve done for us.”