After starting and running the annual Downtown Roanoke Virginia’s Veterans Parade for over a decade, organizers Jeff Perkins and Bill Hume are transitioning the leadership for the November 6, 2021 event to other key volunteers. Beginning this year Daniel Wickham and Travis Light will direct the parade efforts on behalf of the Roanoke Veterans’ Council. Todd Dodson and Roy Chambers will remain in leadership roles and are joined on the organizing committee by Jeff Shawver, Bob Schmucker, Chris Baradat, and Kyle Draper.
“We’ve been doing this for over a decade,” said outgoing President Jeff Perkins. “It is time to hand the controls over to new leadership with fresh ideas. The good thing for us is that Daniel and Travis have been a significant part of the organizing team for a few years now. Plus, with Todd staying on as Treasurer, Bill and I know we are leaving this annual event in very good hands.”
The parade steps off at the corner of Elm and Jefferson and finishes at the market building on Campbell Avenue in Downtown Roanoke. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus, but the organizing committee was able to maintain a strong celebration virtually on WSLS TV – in Prime Time – thanks to the ongoing support of Elbit Systems of America.
“We were proud to once again bring attention to the veterans in our region who have done so much for this country,” said Chris Baradat, Program Manager, at Elbit Systems of America. “It’s our intent to stay connected to this very powerful and worthwhile event and our employees love volunteering and supporting the parade each year. We can’t wait to get back to it this year.”
Planning begins each spring for the parade, which takes place the first Saturday in November. Typically, a dozen or so volunteers do most of the organizing, however, additional volunteers are always needed. This group of citizens coordinate bands, dignitaries, veterans groups, floats, and color guards to form one of the largest such events in the commonwealth.
“These men have given so much,” said new President Daniel Wickham. “Travis and I are honored to step in and continue to produce an incredible event. We work with the other organizers to find ways to continually improve the product and especially since everyone is so anxious to get back to things like the Veterans’ Parade, we’re really excited this year. I can’t say enough about the leadership Jeff and Bill have provided.”
“I’m also pleased that Todd will be staying on as Treasurer and that Roy Chambers will be continuing to handle the event logistics. We are positioned well into the future and so much of that is because of the longstanding work of our outgoing leaders,” said Wickham.
For the past six years the parade has been televised live on WSLS Channel 10. The plans to continue that tradition are in place for 2021 and applications for participants are currently open. To watch previous parades, to see the special 2020 celebration, or to learn more simply visit www.VirginiasVeteransParade.org.