Honoring the woman who started it all | NevadaAppeal.com

Honoring the woman who started it all

Karen Woodmansee
Staff Writer

Coming up is one of my favorite parades, the Veterans Day parade, at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Virginia City.

Every Veteran’s Day for about 20 years, according to an estimate by Aglaee Del Carlo, Virginia City hosted its Veterans Day parade, which gets bigger all the time.

For about the past 10 years, the late Lorraine Du Fresne, Del Carlo, Barbara Smith and others have volunteered to put on a free spaghetti lunch for the veterans and others who marched in the parade. The lunch was held at the senior center immediately following the parade.

Del Carlo wasn’t sure the exact number of years, but the bottom line is for a long time ladies in Virginia City put together an event to honor veterans with no gain for themselves.

Smith and Du Fresne often paid for the spaghetti lunch themselves, to be reimbursed somewhat by dollars dropped in a donation jar, but it didn’t always cover the costs. Still, the tradition continued.

“Lorraine was really big on the parades,” Del Carlo said. “She started it, she did the Fourth of July and then Veterans Day.”

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Du Fresne died last December, and had to stop doing the parades a few years before that due to her illness. I took them over for her, after learning a great deal from this incredible Comstock lady.

The last couple Veterans Day parades I wanted her to be grand marshal, in recognition of her effort on behalf of the men and women who fought for our country, but she always said no. That’s for the veterans, she’d say.

This is the first Veterans Day since her passing, and I thought for awhile we should add to the name, by calling it the Lorraine Du Fresne Veterans Day Parade, but later thought better of it. I don’t think she’d have liked it. That’s for the veterans, she’d probably say.

We will have announcer Bob Del Carlo honor her with a few words and a moment of silence right after the National Anthem, to honor the lady who began this tradition.

This year we’ve had our troubles, with my list of parade participants gone into the netherworld of whatever happens when a hard drive crashes. I can’t mail anyone a form, but I’m hoping all the people who marched in the parade while Lorraine was in charge will come back, just show up at 10 a.m. at the Fourth Ward School for the lineup, or call 847-4386 for an entry form. I hope they let Lorraine know they haven’t forgotten her.

We’re also supposed to have a flyover by an Nevada National Guard plane, one of those big ones, I forget what they’re called.

I wish Lorraine could be here this year. Both of the schools she got to join the parade, the Churchill County JROTC and the Incline Village JROTC will be on hand, along with an added bonus, the top middle school band in the Nevada Day Parade, Carson Middle School, 80-members strong, will be there, as will the Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band.

The Dayton VFW will be there too, along with the Korean War Veteran’s Association, the American Legion Post 56 whose oldest member will be grand marshal, and many others, most of whom started their own traditions in Virginia City’s parades with Lorraine.

Speaking of Veterans Day, the Dayton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8660 will hold a Salute to Veterans in the Dayton Cemetery at 9 a.m. Tuesday, then come up to Virginia City for the parade.

Holly Hill Johnson and her sister Cassie Hill will open the event, singing a medley of patriotic songs.

The speaker will be Col. Michael J. Carlson, chief of staff for the Nevada Army National Guard.

Col. Carson is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College with a Master’s degree in strategic studies. His past deployments include Japan, Korea, Philippines, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. He lives in Dayton with his wife, Rita.

The American Legion Post 56 Honor Guard and Bugler and the VFW will conduct the traditional observance of honoring those veterans, living and dead, and their sacrifices for our freedoms.

A potluck brunch meeting of the Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon, Storey and Mineral Counties will be at 9 a.m. Thursday at Hillyard Hall, Pyramid Drive and Fort Churchill Street in Silver Springs.

To find out more about how groups and individuals in all three counties and beyond are working together to create warm, caring collaborations that are also efficient and cost effective, Healthy Communities Coalition invites the public to their monthly meetings at 9 a.m. on the second Thursday of each month in various locations throughout the counties.

The November meeting includes two special speakers: Poet Shaun Griffin of Virginia City will read from his new book, “Woodsmoke, Wind and the Peregrine.” There will also be a presentation from United Way’s new Vista educational outreach program for Nevada early childhood teachers and parents/guardians of young children.

For more information about Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon, Storey and Mineral Counties, including minutes and agendas, please see http://www.healthycomm.org or call 246-7550.

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The Storey County School District P.T.O. “Food for Thought” is working in conjunction with the Storey County Fire Department and Ashlee’s Toy Closet, Inc. to collect non-perishable food and monetary donations.

Ashlee Smith, 9, founder of “Ashlee’s Toy Closet, Inc.” lives in Washoe County but she has a close tie to our neighbor Storey County. Ashlee heard from her dad, Matt, a Storey County firefighter, that there are numerous families in Storey County that need help to put food on the table. Ashlee knew right away that families meant many children and she had to help. This drive is not for a fire this time, but a disaster of a different kind. Therefore, Ashlee has decided to turn her focus to a food drive for right now. Ashlee is determined to help the Storey County Fire Department collect food to benefit the “Food for Thought” program sponsored by the Storey County School District P.T.O.

“The community has always helped me in the past and I know we can get a lot of food for these kids.” Ashlee said.

Ashlee and the Storey County Fire Department need non-perishable food or monetary donations to be brought to Storey County Station 4, 431 Canyon Way in Lockwood.

For more information or to donate please contact the Storey County Fire Department Station 4 at 342-0220, or Ashlee Smith and Ashlee’s Toy Closet, Inc. at 527-2245.

– Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-7351.

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