UPDATED 9.20. 2012 by Julie Montanaro
Tallahassee vets are fighting to keep the Veterans Day Parade afloat. They need a fast infusion of cash to cover expenses this year and a lasting commitment to pay for the parade in the years ahead.
Record crowds have lined Monroe Street the past two years for Tallahassee's Veterans Day parade.
Yet this year, funding is "way down" about 50% of the 14 thousand that V.E.T. Inc. needs to pay for it.
It has already canceled plans for a helicopter flyover, an artillery salute and a bevy of balloons.
"I want for the parade. The parade needs to go. It needs to be and because it has evolved into what it is, it should continue to advance, it should continue to grow," said American Legion Post 13 Commander Val Frailey,
"We are asking the community to give whatever they can afford," said V.E.T. Inc president Joe West. "There are a quarter of a million people living in this area. If five per cent of them gave five dollars, we'd have more money than we've ever dreamed we'd need."
The president of V.E.T. Inc announced a fund raising campaign Thursday called 365-1. It symbolizes the 365 days a year vets serve and the one day a year we thank them. He blasted the business community for its lack of support.
"I had a person tell one of my fundraisers at a local bank, well, what have the veterans done to deserve to have the parade deserve to be on Monroe? Those are like fighting words to a veteran," West said.
Vets took over the parade in 2010 after the county moved it from Monroe Street to Adams and cancelled it altogether in 2009 because of rain.
The parade drew about 35,000 - 40,000 people the first year and about 25,000 the second. Now vets are asking some of those folks to show their support with their wallets too.
"If Vet Events Tally can't find the support we really thought we would originally find, we will end up turning this parade back over to the county," West said.
This year's parade is set for Monday, November 12th.
UPDATED 9.20.2012 by Julie Montanaro
Tallahassee veterans say they have $6000-$7000 of the $14,000 they need to cover expenses for this year's parade.
V.E.T. Inc president Joe West says they have already cancelled plans for an artillery salute, a helicopter flyover and a batch of big balloons.
West says he and others have been stunned by the lack of response from many Tallahassee businesses. He says many ask "What's in it for me?"
"Support for this parade is not a commercial transaction or a marketing proposition. The parade is our community's opportunity to show real support and gratitude for those who did not ask what was in it for them when they signed to fight for us," West said in a morning press conference.
V.E.T. Inc took over the parade in 2010 and has seen record crowds along Monroe Street the past two years. It says unless the community takes ownership of this parade, vets may be forced to turn the parade back over to the county.
West says he would like the Veterans Day Parade to be on par with events like Springtime Tallahassee and Winterfest.
For more information about the parade or to find out how you can donate log visiit the Vet Events Tally web site.
Tallahassee, FL - September 20, 2012
Veteran Events in Tallahassee held a press conference Thursday morning September 20, at 10:00 am. The conference was at "The Hootch" on Lake Ella, 241 Lake Ella Dr.
Vet Events addressed some concerns dealing with past fund raising efforts and what appears to be a certain amount of apathy in the business community towards Veterans as well as a new fund raising campaign and the need for public involvement.
The group also spoke on the future of Vet Events Tally as the primary organizer of The Veterans Day Parade.