American Veterans Traveling Tribute coming to Ennis
Community Participation Escalates
Carol Grey Honza
ENNIS – Spirited meetings continue regarding the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, oming to Ennis in May.
Members of the Welcome Home...Ennis Honors Her Heroes Committee, numerous community leaders, and area participants met Tuesday evening, March 2, at the VFW Post 7106 in Ennis.
Discussions involved ongoing plans for events leading up to the week-long celebration scheduled for May 5-9 in Ennis.
Due to the absence of the co-chairmen, Dan Cook, and Marylyn Wylie — Buddy Markham chaired the meeting, covering a number of items on the agenda, including budgetary projections for the event, and the progression of sub-committee assignments.
"We are looking to have many entries in our Patriotic Parade on Saturday, May 8," said Paula Tucker, parade chairman.
"We are already receiving entries."
"Parade applications may be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce, the Ennis Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light, The Ellis County Press, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Ennis Public Library, or you may phone: Paula Tucker, parade chairman, 972-875-2717."
There will be vintage cars, classic cars, motor cycles, floats, etc., hopefully, bands, and all must be decorated in a Patriotic theme or colors. At this point, we do not have a true picture of the make-up of the parade – but hopefully, we will have a better scope by mid April," said Tucker.
Carol Honza, public relations chairman reported, "Poster and Essay contests and guidelines for school age students have been sent to Ellis County schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, and extra copies are available at Waxahachie Daily Light, Ennis Daily News, The Ellis County Press, Ennis Public Library, Ennis Boys & Girls Club, the Ennis Chamber of Commerce and Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau."
"You may also phone 972-878-5510 for additional copies of Contests and Guidelines," she said.
"We have had an army of people ready and willing to assist in our event in so many ways," said Markham.
"Of primary importance was the generous donation of the use of an unused portion school property which was donated by EISD school administration for a one-time use during the week of the event, to be used as the site on which to house the main event. "This is where the Wall will be erected, and the ceremonial tent, and main events will be held. This property selection initially, had a great deal to do with the Veterans Traveling Wall event coming to Ennis at all — so it is with a great amount of appreciation that we acknowledge the donation of the use of this property by EISD officials. "In addition, numerous school professionals are also donating their time and talents [after school hours] volunteering in the efforts toward the event," explained Markham..
"Military personnel from various branches of services have come forward to offer ground and air assistance.
"Churches have reached out to offer pastoral coverage with event services, benediction ceremonies, etc. Vietnam veterans are especially interested in the event as the Traveling Wall contains 58,000 names of those lost in the Vietnam War.
"Other American Veteran losses are also specifically honored at the event in various memorials, so we expect many other people will want to see these memorials as well," added Markham. .
"City of Ennis departments and staff, police and fire fighters, along with ambulance personnel have stepped up to offer help in numerous areas.
"The American Legion Riders, Patriot Guard and area bikers will be highly visible in Ennis during the week of the event – offering escort and patrol assistance as well," added Markham.
Meeting attendee Police Chief John Erisman noted, "Our department is ready to meet the challenges of this type of event head-on.
"It is similar to other events which occur in Ennis, where parades are involved."
"We have a ready-plan and protocol to cover such events, and we will be meeting with your Committee on a regular basis to follow each stage in its planning, and schedule our departmental plans accordingly."
"Business leaders, retirees; scout troops, and the general public from many areas of Ellis County and the Metroplex want to help," continued Markham."
"And many people are attending our fundraisers – like our recent chili supper at Baylor Baptist Church on Feb. 20,, sponsored by the VFW, which brought a good crowd that enjoyed some very good Chili fixins. "With gratitude, the proceeds were all donated by the VFW to our upcoming Veterans’ event," he added. "Mike Riley, our resident King-of-Ennis-Fish-Fry’s is cooking up a second fundraiser —a fish-fry, is scheduled March 20 at the First United Methodist Church in Ennis. "We hope everyone will come, because it is so heartwarming to know our Veterans are honored through such great opportunities for community participation," concluded Markham.
Organizational meetings of the Welcome Home – Ennis Honors Her Heroes Committee of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute will continue biweekly up until the event. Approximately 30 members and guests attended the meeting on Tuesday, March 2.
Meetings are open to anyone who may be interested in participating in the plans for the memorial event. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 16 tat 6:30 p.m. at the VFW Hall in Ennis.