PDG, Don LaBarge reports "All went like clock work at the Veterans Parade." His team gathered at 7:45 am at 8st & Center.  The team included Melodie, Jim McGown, Chris LaBarge, Warren  Williamson  and Ted Williams.  Chris and Don LaBarge picked up the U-Haul about 7:15am. It had been loaded with supplies for the Fallen Soldiers Event the day before by Theresa Carmichael and her staff.  The fallen soldiers event honors the 170 soldiers killed in action since 9-11. They drove the U-Haul to the loading area at 8st & Center.
Theresa was Parade chair & Member of Mesa Sunrise.  Several Mesa Sunrise folks were assigned other duties, but very visibly working to support the parade. The Mesa West crew had worried about getting past the barricades, and possibly being hassled by the Guard.  It turned out Rich Guin from Mesa Sunrise was the Guard, so it worked perfectly.   The first shift included Don and Chris, Melodie, Jim & Warren and about 75 ROTC kids from all branches.  It took every hand to prepare the Fallen Soldiers poles and pictures for hand out.  The parts came in four different boxes. The ROTC kids received the poles, pictures, wreath and ribbons from the Mesa West Rotary crew.  In two-person teams, the ROTC kids put the poles together with the wreaths, picture and ribbons using zip ties. One of the jobs was to tie the ribbon into a bow to give the kids, Chris spent some time trying to teach Don how to tie a bow.  He gave up and took the role as supervisor.  He recruited two girl scout mothers, who happened to be using Don's truck for shade while they were waiting for other scouts, to help Chris tie the bows. Chris and the two girl-scout mothers tied bows and gave them to the ROTC kids. The ROTC adult leader and the head boss barked orders at the kids like it was boot camp. Don said, "It was great.  Trust me when I say the kids paid attention to the boss."
After all the Poles were finally assembled about 10:30 am, Don and Chris moved to 2st street and Country Club which was the end of the Parade route.  They parked and set up with gear to receive the poles.  Their job was to disassemble the parts and repack the boxes for next year. The Mesa Fire Department showed up with a large grill which they set up next to the truck and trailer.  Don and Chris knew several of them as they are a retired group, and were part of the grilling crew. (Chris's brother Grant is a retired Mesa Fireman and they knew them from what Don calls the old days. After everybody shook hands and told stories, the firemen set up their grill and began the task of giving away 1500 hot dogs to the parade workers and participants, or, basically, anyone who asked for one, Their event was paid for by the Fire Union.  While Chris and Don waited for the Parade to end, they accepted the assignment of testing the hot dogs for quality. After eating two or three, they gave the fireman the OK. The firemen had been warned by Theresa to be ready for the ROTC kids at the end as they would be hungry and tired and eagerly invade the hot dog stand.
Ted Williams joined Don and Chris about 11 AM, along with Colton and ten Interact kids.   They were ready for the ROTC, at about 12:20 PM, the 170 ROTC kids arrived with the boss barking orders and they marched straight to the Mesa West team's setup.  The chaos began.  After about thirty minutes all 170 poles had been collected.  The team began the process of removing the wreaths, pictures, ribbons and zip ties and repacking. "Thank goodness for the Interact kids!" Mental notes were made about what will be needed next year:  chairs, more cutting pliers, pipe wrenches to undo the poles etc.  Tje team finished at 2 PM and returned the truck to Theresa's office.    
Don says "Many thanks to our volunteer crew."