This May will see the 50th Anniversary of the Hazel Dell Parade of Bands as school bands, businesses and community groups converge to march through the middle of Hazel Dell, Washington.
This “Golden Jubilee” celebrates the founding of the Parade in 1964, a time of a troubled America ripped apart by a Presidential Assassination, Civil Rights struggle, the Cold War and in need of such a spirit-lifting event.
Nineteen sixty-four also saw a growing involvement 8,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean in the small Asian country of Vietnam that would further divide the American public, with returning Troops met with scorn and derision by a misunderstanding population.
Through it all, people in Southwest Washington put aside different views and joined together briefly to enjoy the yearly parade.
The Vietnam War ended but, but the parade went on, every year over the past 50 years, come rain or shine. Many veterans began taking part in the parades, in part to help alleviate frustration and confusion that grew out of that war.
Veterans in the parade would call on others to come out of the shadows and march proudly alongside other veterans--to show pride in their service and sacrifices made. Some had withdrawn into themselves. A small few troubled by both their war experience and mistreatment upon their return distanced themselves from memories. Some turned to drugs and alcohol and eventually ran afoul of the law.
A lot has changed since 1964 as awareness of veterans has grown. The public has realized that the small number experiencing troubles are worthwhile; and that the public that helped create their problems should help them recover their lives.
But, parades alone cannot accomplish that. It takes the dedication of people like Clark County District Judge Darvin Zimmerman, following the example of Judge Robert Russell who created the “nation’s first veterans treatment court” where instead of jail time for minor infractions of the law, “the veterans [are] required to get mental health or addiction counseling, find jobs, stay clean and sober and get their lives back on track.”
Zimmerman, founding presiding Judge of the Clark County Veterans Court says,
“The Vets Court has had approximately 57 Veterans enter since its start in March of 2011. It has the highest graduation rate of any specialty court in Clark County. More than double most other courts as the Veterans really want to succeed. From a taxpayers viewpoint it is a great deal as the VA has the space and time to do all the treatment for the Vets and therefore the average of $6000.00 set aside for treatment costs in the other courts is not necessary. So one way of looking at it is we save the county $60,000 for every 10 Vets that we treat in Vets Court. Plus treating the Vets as opposed to incarcerating them at $82 a day is a savings too.”When American University evaluated the success of the court they referred to it as being a model court for the nation. Another point of pride is that both Marion County and Multnomah County are modeling their newly started Courts after the Clark County Veterans Court.
Judge Z. was instrumental in obtaining a $350,000 federal grant to establish the Clark County Veterans Court and has worked tirelessly since then in keeping it funded by generous donations from the public and businesses through a series of highly entertaining events held throughout the County.
Through the continuous generosity of their major sponsors these events are kept to a very low price or free to the public. These major sponsors include US Digital, Ryonet Screen Printing Supplies, Waste Connections of Washington, Inc., East Vancouver Costco and DeWils Fine Cabinetry & Appliance.
Armed Forces Day, Saturday May 17, another event will be held in conjunction with and immediately after the “Golden Jubilee” Hazel Dell Parade of Bands at the Peachtree Restaurant 6600 NE Hwy 99 Vancouver, WA 98665.
Once again Judge Zimmerman has lined up top-notch entertainment for the afternoon and evening as follows:
1 pm to 3 pm Karen Overton is a native of Portland, Oregon raised on story based songs and is well known throughout Southwest Washington and Portland for her solo performances at wineries, retirement communities, assisted living facilities and of course, Veterans Court events. She performs a variety of popular songs spanning the decades and creating an intimate musical experience based on the audience.
3 pm to 5 pm Tom Mann is a Nashville Performer & Songwriter that has opened for many musical greats such as Keith Urban, Kenny Rogers, LeAnn Rimes and the Oak Ridge Boys. One of his featured songs on his most recent Nashville recorded CD is the song Little Becky about her father going off to war. Tom proudly served in the United States Air Force in Germany and has delighted fans there and all over the United States.
5 pm to 6 pm The Young Old-Time Fiddlers is a family group featuring Heather, Jessica, Andrew and Grace Kobilan, an up-and-coming talent. An accomplished fiddler and musician who recently won the Highland Games Fiddling Contest at Mount Hood Community College, Grace started playing at age 8, recently finishing an extremely close second to a world champion. This 21 year-old sensation is also an accomplished pianist and guitar player. Her love of music and teaching fiddling and piano complements her major in music. Don’t be surprised to see her at the Grand Ole Opry very soon.
6 pm to 7 pm Art Miller plays Ragtime & Barrelhouse Honky Tonk on the piano. A well known attorney in Southwest Washington, Art has been delighting crowds for over 40 years with his Ragtime and Honky-tonk style of piano. For years he was a regular performer at Digger O'Dell's and other major clubs in Portland. Now he obtains great satisfaction in donating his time and talents to the Veterans Court fundraising events.
7 pm to 9 pm Jesse Wade Holyk has been singing at the Harvest Days celebration in Battle Ground, Washington since he was 10 years-old. He has participated in the Seattle X-Factor, auditioned for the first Making the Band show and for several years sang the National Anthem for headliners at the Clark County Fair. Jesse says, “Music is a translation of love and that’s a big gift to give people.”
Special appearances will be made by Miss Clark County, Moriah Smith and Miss Clark County’s Outstanding Teen, Bhanu Kaur. I am also told there will be a “Mystery Guest” from the Miss Clark County Scholarship Organization making an appearance.
In addition to entertainers, vendors will be on hand and you are encouraged to try out the Peachtree Menu, especially their delicious, freshly-made pies.
And of course, your generous donations to the Clark County Veterans Court are greatly appreciated.
|Last year’s prize winning float|
This year, entertainers performing on the float will include fiddler champion Grace Kobilan and Jesse Wade Holyk.
Mark your calendars for Saturday May 17, 2014. The parade is scheduled to begin at 10:30 am. Come early; make a day of it viewing the 50th “Golden Jubilee” of the Hazel Dell Parade of bands and stick around to help Veterans afterwards by attending the Peachtree Restaurant Concert and Vendor Fair 4 Vets.