John Harrigan, President of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1002 of Vernon during the 2013 Sussex County St. Patrick's Day Parade. (Photo provided).
Sussex County has announced the details of the events leading up to its 16th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday March 16, 2019. The Parade Committee announces today that the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 1002 of Vernon are the 2019 Grand Marshals. Grand Marshal's Luncheon The 16th Annual Grand Marshals’ Luncheon honoring VVA Chapter 1002 will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, at the Irish Cottage Inn, which is located at 602 Route 23 North, Franklin, NJ. The grand luncheon includes entertainment, recognition of Grand Marshals, Tricky Tray and a 50/50 Raffle. All proceeds from tickets and a Tricky Tray at the luncheon will benefit the Grand Marshal's chosen charity: Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Luncheon reservations made prior to Feb. 9, 2019 are $60; Thereafter and prior to Feb. 15, 2019, reservations cost $70. No walk-ins are allowed. All proceeds from tickets and a Tricky Tray at the luncheon will benefit the Grand Marshals’ chosen charity: Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Mass and Traditional Irish Breakfast: A Mass honoring St. Patrick, the Patron St. of Ireland, will be held at St. Jude the Apostle Church located at 4-24 Beaver Run Road, Hamburg, NJ at 8:30 a.m. on Sat, March 2. Following Mass, there will be a Traditional Irish Breakfast at the Irish Cottage Inn, located at 602 Route 23, Franklin, NJ. Approximate starting time is 10 a.m. The breakfast includes bangers and rashers, Irish sausage and bacon, eggs, potatoes, beans, black and white pudding, tomato, and brown bread. Cost is $15 per person in advance, $20 at the door. St. Patrick's Day Parade The Sussex County St. Patrick's Day Parade takes place on Saturday, March 16, at 11:30 a.m. The public is invited to this main event, the 16th annual Sussex County St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which takes place in Newton on Saturday, March 16, during which time the VVA Chapter 1002 will lead more than 900 marchers along Spring Street, Newton, with thousands of spectators. The parade begins at 11:30 a.m. The line of march will proceed along Spring Street, turning right onto Moran Street and onto Memory Park. These streets will close at 11 a.m. The parade will feature nearly 100 units including Veterans and Active Members of the Armed Services, Police, Fire and EMS, elected officials, bands, floats, Irish Step Dancers, Community Organizations, local schools, accompanying service and antique vehicles, and a variety of pets. There will also be Irish theme characters and sweets and other free treats for children. Mark Hontz will again be the Parade Master of Ceremonies, with Celtic songs and self-accompaniment on his bagpipes; not to mention Mark’s commentary as the Parade units pass by the reviewing stand on Spring Street. Any organization or group interested in joining the parade, may complete a parade application and return it to the Sussex Co. St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee no later than March 8, by obtaining a form through the web site https://sussexcountynjirish.com/ for event forms. Call Mary & Dennis Harrington, Event Chairpersons at 973-827-9179 to make reservations for the Luncheon and Breakfast and for further assistance with forms and applications. Or visit the parade Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/SussexCoStPatricksDayParade/ Bio of The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1002: The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1002, with more than 240 veterans and associate members, was formed in 2008 by three Vietnam Veterans; John Harrigan, Owen Martin and Bob Gilbert. The Chapter received its official Charter from the National Organization in February of 2009. The Chapter's community involvement includes marching in the Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Fourth of July and the annual St. Patrick’s Day parades in Newton. They have also participated in the Salute to Veterans, the Sussex County Fair and Wreaths Across America. Chapter members have attended Lyons VA Hospital on a bi-monthly basis to bring patients dinner and help lift spirits. John Harrigan, President of the Chapter, is the founder of the Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery located in Sparta; it is the only nonprofit cemetery for Veterans and spouses. The Chapter also has a Veterans Helping Veterans’ group that helps veterans and widows navigate the Veteran’s Administration in order to receive all available benefits. Members have also awarded more than $30,000.00 in scholarship grants to high school seniors. In 2019, the group will award five students scholarships in the amount of $1,000.