Veterans Day isn’t supposed to be a somber occasion; it’s a celebration honoring the brave service men and women who risk it all to defend our freedom and keep us safe. This year, the IBEW 1245 Veterans Committee participated in Veterans Day parades in Sacramento, Fresno and Redding to reinforce our union’s commitment to current and former military personnel and honor all who have served our nation.
In Sacramento, more than 30 IBEW 1245 veterans, members, family and friends joined the marching contingent at the city’s 4th annual Veterans Day Parade. The marchers held an IBEW 1245 Veterans Committee banner and donned matching tee shirts, and were accompanied by an IBEW 1245-themed pickup truck, decorated with flags, banners and signs. Veterans Committee members Walter Carmier and Pamela Pendleton organized and led the contingent, while IBEW organizers Jammi Juarez and Jennifer Gray drove along in the truck.
“Right before march time we lost the sun; the morning chill was back,” said Carmier, a US Army Vet and 1245 member who works at Frontier Communications. “But when we marched onto the Sacramento Capitol Mall, we were honored by hundreds of Sacramentans standing and cheering, and fellow veterans saluting… we were all warmed and honored [to be a part of it].”
At the Fresno Veterans Day Parade, approximately 35 people joined the Local 1245 contingent, including veterans, members and their families. The Fresno event is widely known to be the biggest Veterans Day Parade on the West Coast, and the IBEW 1245 marchers noticed many friends and co-workers in the crowd that lined every inch of the mile-long parade route. IBEW 1245 Veterans Committee members Joe Sanchez and Vicki Bunag worked to coordinate the contingent, and Sanchez was pleased to have the opportunity to have his daughter marching by his side during the parade.
“Honoring our veterans and supporting our Union is going to be a lasting memory for my daughter because of this parade,” said Sanchez, a Marine Corps veteran and Local 1245 Shop Steward from PG&E. “I believe that we will have a stronger presence in next year’s parade, along with a float to ride along in. It’s going to all come down to planning. As this was my first time ever planning an event like this, I now understand all that is needed to have a successful event.”
In the Redding area, the IBEW Veterans group did in fact enter a float in the Shasta Lake Veterans Parade, which they decorated with two dozen American flags, patriotic streamers and two IBEW Local 1245 Veterans Committee banners. IBEW 1245 member Dave Vandermeer drove a City of Shasta Lake line truck behind the float with a banner that read “Supported by IBEW Local 1245” while Assistant Business Manager Ray Thomas navigated the parade route in the IBEW 1245 van. IBEW Veterans Committee members Phil Alleman and Mike Grandmain coordinated the Shasta Lake contingent, which included Local 1245 members as well as several honored guests from the Redding Veteran’s Resource Center.
“It was a proud day for all of the float riders because none of them had ever been on a float in a Veteran’s Parade before, and were thankful to be honored by IBEW Local 1245 for their military service,” according to Alleman, a Local 1245 retiree and Army Veteran who served in Vietnam. “To all our fellow Veterans, thank you for service and sacrifices to make this country a Land of the Free Because of the Brave. We salute you.”