San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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November 4th, 2009
Veterans Day celebration starts this weekend

PHOTO by DON ANDERS

Mayor Susan Narvaiz honors veterans who will lead the Veterans Day Parade Saturday in San Marcos. Grand Marshal is George Kumpe, US Army, decorated Vietnam War veteran. Pictured are (front row) Mayor Narvaiz, Robert L. Dentino, US Air Force; Dick Hammond, U.S. Army; Thomas P. Ivarra, Sr., U.S. Army-Air Force, and Heather Powdrill, Parks & Recreation; (middle row) Council Member Pam Couch, Lisa Morris, Parks & Recreation; Alan Cameron, U.S. Marines; Grand Marshal George W. Kumpe, US Army; Thomas C. Ivarra, Jr., US Army; and Pat Murdock, Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee; (back row) Fidencio Leija, Council Members Kim Porterfield and Gaylord Bose; Tom Tvrdik, Cmdr., American Legion Post 144; and Council Members Chris Jones and Fred Terry.

by PAT MURDOCK

The public is invited to join a city-wide salute to military veterans that kicks off in downtown San Marcos at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7.

Kids of all ages are invited to bring their bikes down to the San Marcos Kiwanis Club’s area on the square. Kiwanis Club members will help decorate the bikes for the Kids Bicycle Brigade and will escort the group as they ride in the Veterans Day Parade.

And don’t forget the biscuits and gravy that will be served on the Square, also starting at 8:30 a.m., or the fact that the first 200 youngsters to show up at the Courthouse and find Uncle Sam will receive a free patriotic prize.

The breakfast on the square tradition is made possible by Café on the Square and the Main Street program.

San Marcos’ annual Veterans Day Parade will start at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, with the parade course including a portion of the downtown courthouse square. Lisa Morris, San Marcos Parks and Recreation’s recreation manager who has led parade organizational efforts, says entries now number more than 78 and they are still coming in.

Parade check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. The check-in station will be located on Hopkins Street in front of the San Marcos Public Library. Hopkins Street will be closed to through traffic between Charles Austin Drive and Fredericksburg Street. The parade will travel on Hopkins Street towards the Hays County Courthouse. After passing the courthouse, it will turn right onto Fredericksburg Street, then right onto Hutchinson Street, travel down Hutchison and turn right onto C.C. Allen Parkway. The parade will then turn left on to Hopkins Street and the line-up area for disbanding.

Leading the parade will be grand marshal George Kumpe, who earned two purple hearts while serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. Kumpe will be riding in a 1959 Edsel convertible provided by Dick’s Classic Car Museum of San Marcos.

Seven of the remaining ten grand marshal nominees are expected to serve in an honor guard, riding on a float immediately behind Kumpe.

For the second year in a row, a community-wide call for nominations of local veterans for grand marshal honors resulted in the nomination of ten men and one woman with impressive military and community service records. A nonpartisan committee selected Kumpe after reviewing the nominations.

Invited to participate in the honor guard are nominees U. S. Air Force veteran Lt. Col. Robert L. “Bob” Dentino; U.S. Army veterans Richard Cruz, Thomas Ivarra Sr. and Thomas Ivarra Jr.; and U.S. Marine Corps veterans Tom L. Bambrick, George Boemerman and Dr. Dick E. Hammond. U.S. Navy veteran Captain Bettye G. Nagy, the first female grand marshal nominee, will be driving her own vehicle representing the Retired Officers Association. Nominee Dr. Theodore Dake Jr., a decorated U.S. Air Force veteran, is out of town attending a professional conference.

Nominee Alan Cameron, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, will be the parade master of ceremonies.

Among local Veterans Day observance related events were two nights of movie showings at the San Marcos VFW Hall on Nov. 3 and 5. The documentary A Touch of Home will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, while An Ocean Away will be featured on Thursday, Nov. 5. The VFW Hall – home to the Maurice Suttles VFW Post 3413 – is located at 1701 Hunter Road. Weather permitting, the movies will be shown on an outdoor screen. If it rains, the films will be shown indoors. Admission will be free. Concessions will be available and those attending are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs.

Both films revolve around the war in Vietnam. A Touch of Home is about the 627 brave young women who served as “Red Cross girls” on the frontlines of the combat zone. An Ocean Away tells the story of the repatriation and return of Donald Matocha to his family in Texas 34 years after his death in Vietnam in 1968 and the subsequent journey of his sisters and fellow marines to Dong Ha Mountain where he died.

The latter movie has a local connection. Matocha’s sister, Loretta Eiben, is a resident of San Marcos. Eiben, along with other family members will be in attendance to provide personal reflections on the making of the documentary. A San Antonio Express-News reviewer called An Ocean Away “a movie full of history and heart…one of the most moving post-war movies ever made.”

Other Veterans Day observance activities scheduled include the following:

  • Fifth graders at Irene Mendez Elementary School interviewed veterans and produced posters which were to be judged by representatives of San Marcos American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary Post and Unit 144. The winning posters will be displayed at the LBJ Museum of San Marcos, which will be open all day Saturday, starting at 8:30 a.m.
  • On Wednesday, Nov. 11, local veterans are invited to join the faculty, staff and students of Goodnight Middle School to honor their service to our country. Breakfast will be served from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. in the Goodnight Library. At 8:30 a.m., a special program honoring veterans will be held in the Goodnight gym. The school is located at 1201 Hwy. 123.
  • Also on Nov. 11, Texas State University will celebrate Veterans Day with a ceremony on the Quad at 10:45 a.m. The guest speaker will be Texas State Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient Brig. Gen. Randall Starbuck , U.S. Air Force retired, who oversaw the preparation and launching of U.S. satellites from Cape Canaveral.
  • The on-campus ceremony is sponsored each year by the Student Foundation and local non-affiliated veterans are invited to attend. There will be parking reserved for veterans and their families and shuttles to take them to the Quad.
  • San Marcos VFW Post 3413 is having a homeless veterans fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 11. Chopped barbecue sandwiches with sides and drinks can be purchased for $5 at the VFW Hall, located at 1701 Hunter Road with the proceeds benefitting homeless veterans.
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