To the Editor:

The Shelton Republican Town Committee’s Memorial Day Pop-Up Parade was very well received in all corners of the city. Our plan was to bring a parade to our residents while passing by the homes of RTC veterans and city residents who requested drive-bys. I want to acknowledge Ginny Harger, SRTC secretary, and her husband, Mark, who decorated our vehicle and prepared a map and a five-page list of streets with turn-by-turn instructions for our “Special Forces Mission.” Thank you as well to Jay Francino-Quinn for his audio assistance to permit us to play appropriate military marching music as we drove along.

Our Memorial Day Pop-Up Parade of eight vehicles included a “lead pickup” generously donated by AJ’s Automotive in Pine Rock Park; a restored 1967 Pontiac LeMans; a restored 1978 Lincoln convertible; two 20-yard trucks, courtesy of Ben Perry of S&G Hauling; two SUVs and two sedans. Participants included a grandfather/granddaughter; three high school students; a young lady whose veteran father recently passed; a dad/mom/daughter combo; Lt. Col. John F. Simonetti, USAF retired and his wife, Louise; and former Air Force Sgt. Mark Harger and his faithful companion, Griffin.

Our caravan drove through White Hills, Huntington, Long Hill Avenue, Coram Gardens, River Road, Meadow Street and downtown neighborhoods for more than four hours, covering more than 60 miles. If not already in front of their homes, residents came outside to wave flags, clap and take pictures. We are grateful to veteran John Papa and his wife, Jane, who provided a rest stop, and to their neighbor, Lorenzo Durante and family for their snacks and beverages. We enjoyed seeing many along the route, especially veteran Bill Kozak and Second Ward Alderman, Eric McPherson. While we had to pull over a couple of times for emergency repairs to the supports used for the large sign on our pickup, we ended without a scratch.

The tour of Shelton’s neighborhoods was very enlightening for me. Each has their own special characteristics and look. Homes are well maintained with manicured lawns like baseball outfields and flowering shrubs. At the conclusion of our caravan, I agreed when Ginny commented she had a new respect for our snowplow drivers who navigate the 220 miles of hills and turns throughout Shelton after a snowstorm.

Prior to our Memorial Day Pop-Up Parade, I had the privilege to attend the traditional Memorial Day ceremony conducted by White Hills Fire Company #5 to honor those who have gone before them in service to our country and the city. I know Shelton’s other volunteer fire stations have similar ceremonies and it should remind us to support our local fire companies whenever called upon to do so; be it a request for a donation or to support their flower sale, pancake breakfast or Christmas toy drive. All of our fire companies and volunteers deserve everyone’s attention and generosity for the many times they have immediately come to our aid to rescue people, animals and property 24/7/365.

I hope that whatever you and your family did, you all enjoyed the “different” Memorial Day holiday. Stay safe, stay well and we will get through this pandemic crisis soon.

Anthony F. Simonetti

Shelton RTC

Chairman