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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Blairstown Memorial Day Parade Gets Sunny Skies…Again

The annual Blairstown Memorial Day Parade was again favored by sunny skies, for about the third time in a row, after several years of rain.

Organized by the Givens-Belet American Legion Post 258 on May 27, the parade hosted marchers from throughout the North Warren area.

Grand Marshal this year was Russel Lay, an Army veteran and helicopter pilot who served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970. During more than 1,000 flight hours, he was shot down three times and was hit by fire in aircraft he flew 57 times. He spent six weeks in the Kishini Army Hospital in Japan.

During his Vietnam service, Lay was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation, the Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Army Overseas Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, 30 Air Medals, an Air Medal with “V” Service, Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster.

Lay resigned from active duty in 1973 but remained in the New York Army National Guard, retiring in 1998 as a colonel.

Following in the parade Col. Lay led were many marching units that were also recognized by the American Legion for their performance. They included:

Veterans Marching Unit 1st Place, Givens-Belet Post 258

Civic Marching Unit 1st Place, Blairstown Masonic Lodge

Youth Marching Unit 1st Place, Boy Scout Troop 140; Honorable Mention, North Warren Regional High School football and cheerleading

Fire Apparatus In-Service 1st Place, Hampton Pierce Engine; Honorable Mention, Green Township Engine 95-62

Ambulance In Service, 1st Place Knowlton BLS 41-52

Civic Unit Float 1st Place, Blairstown Enhancement Committee Bed Race; Honorable Mention, Hope Moravian Grange

Youth Unit Float 1st Place, Warren County Little League; Honorable Mention, Blairstown Youth Softball

Military Vehicle 1st Place, WWII CCKW 6×6; Honorable Mention Desert Camo 6×6

Antique Auto/Truck 1st Place, Chris Jacksic 1950 Ford; Honorable Mention, Pete Peterson 1947 Dodge Pickup

Antique Tractor 1st Place, International Harvester driven by Anna Sullivan; Honorable Mention, 1939 Allis Chalmers driven by Todd Miller

Equestrian 1st Place, Jan Zukoski

Specialty Vehicle 1st Place, American LaFrance Hose Cart pulled by Hampton Fire; Honorable Mention, 5-ton wrecker owned by A-Tech Automotive

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.