by Chris Studor
Parade watchers, many dressed in red, white and blue, eagerly awaited the arrival of the annual Memorial Parade on May 30. The parade launched at Our Lady of Grace Church on Ridge Road, stopped for a ceremony at Veterans’ Memorial Park, and then went onto the Hinckley Township Hall.
Catching the eye of all the parade onlookers was Deacon Bruce Dobbins, of Our Lady of Grace Church, a veteran and also the guest speaker for the day. He was accompanied by U.S. Army Chaplin Joshua Israel who gave the invocation. The Highland High School Marching Band enthusiastically entertained the crowd. All paused for a solemn ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park where township trustees placed a wreath at the Veterans Memorial Monument.
As guests filed to the township hall for speeches and more, the Hinckley Women’s Club served doughnuts donated by the Hinckley Chamber of Commerce. All three trustees took turns reading off the names of all Hinckley Veterans from the Civil War to the present and local Girl Scouts presented each veteran in the crowd with a carnation.
While many in the audience are familiar with Dobbins, they may not have known that after graduation he served in the Army Transportation Corps, Army Corps of Engineers and the Navy Construction Battalion, otherwise known as the Seabees. He ended his military career in 2004 after he was called home from the war in Iraq due to a family hardship.
It may take a while to notice, but while wearing his formal deacon vestments Dobbins always wears heavy, black, combat boots.
“While in the service I wore combat boots and served my country, now I wear them serving a different commander,” he said.
In his address, Deacon Dobbins urged audience members “to gather together to remember those souls who have died serving our country and those who are still suffering in hospitals and privately.”
Heather Liccardi was recognized as Hinckley’s 2022 Citizen of the Year following the ceremony. Liccardi’s opening words have become her official slogan; “Life is not a dress rehearsal.”
Liccardi’s numerous accomplishments include a long career in education and serving others. She is active in the Rocky River Watershed Council, Hinckley Women’s’ Club, Hinckley Chamber of Commerce, Hinckley Historical Society, Richfield Heritage Preserve and the Red Coats at the Cleveland Playhouse. ∞