This years Memorial Day Parade will start at the Waynedale United Methodist Church at 9:00am. Line-up is at 8:00am in the church parking lot on Old Trail Road and Church Street. There is no entry fee. The parade will proceed down Old Trail Road to Prairie Grove Cemetery. There will be a military ceremony at Prairie Grove Cemetery, which will include placing of the wreath, singing of the National Anthem, Taps by Elmhurst High School Band and a white dove release by Whispering Wings.
After the military ceremony the public is invited to cross Bluffton Road to the South West Conservation Club. There will be food for sale at the Conservation Club. There will be free fishing poles for the kids provided by The Waynedale News and free fishing in the SWCC ponds for kids accompanied by adults.
Get an early spot on Old Trail Road for The Waynedale Memorial Day Parade.
Benjamin E. GiaQuinta Grand Marshall
Ben was born in Brockton, Massachusetts and now resides at 4443 Pembroke Lane, Fort Wayne. He is a veteran of WWII and was engaged in active combat in the European Theater of Operations, including the Battle of the Bulge with the 102nd Infantry Division, United States Army. Ben said that he remembers vividly living in a foxhole during the Battle of the Bulge. It was cold, wet and miserable and he lost many friends during that conflict.
Ben said, "A man thinks of many things when caught up in that type of experience and what I remember missing the most was home and going to sleep on the clean, fresh-smelling sheets that my mother used to put on my bed."
He received the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Bronze Star Medal. He was getting ready to be shipped off for the invasion of Japan when the war ended.
Ben met his wife Helen here in Fort Wayne. He was a driving instructor after the war and Helen Kelly was one of his students. After he taught her how to drive they started dating and he and Helen have been married for 55 years. They have six children; Peggy Strang, Mary Derheimer, Mark, Michael, Benjamin, Phil, and sixteen grandchildren.
He is a member of Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church and works for Coldwell Banker-Roth Wehrly Graber Realtors. He is a member of the State and National Association of Realtors, Indiana Association of Realtors, Fort Wayne Area Realtors and was named Realtor of the Year in 1995.
Ben is a graduate of Louisiana State University (BA 1935), a member of Southside Business Group, Toastmaster International, American Institute of Parliamentarians, American Legion Post #296 and VFW Post #1421.
He was 1993 Trial Lawyers Legislator of the Year, 2002 American Legion Legislator of the Year, 2002 Fraternal Order of Police Legislator of the Year, 2003 Veterans of Foreign Wars Legislator of the Year and 2004 Hoosier Freedom Award recipient.
Ben was elected to the House of Representatives, 1990-1994, & 1996-2006. Prior to that he was on the Wayne Township Advisory Board from 1986-1990 and he was on the Ways & Means Committee and involved in Public Policy.
He co-authored House Bill #1023 which gave National Guardsmen supplemental tuition grants and authored another bill that lowered the eligibility time for Indiana Veterans to begin receiving Veterans care. Ben was also instrumental in the honorary high school diplomas for veterans whose education was interrupted by service to their country.
Steve Branstrator Master of Ceremony
Steve Branstrator is an Elmhurst graduate, class of 1964. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1965 and served in Vietnam from September of 1966 through October of 1967.
He has been married to his wife Charlene for 31 years. Charlene is a life member of VFW #1421 and they have 2 children, Darla and Mathew. They have four grandsons, Joseph, Justin, Kyle and Caleb.
Steve is the Post Commander of VFW #1421and has been in the commander position for 4 terms. He was also the All-American Post Commander through 1998 and 1999. He served as District C. Commander, 2000-2001, Department of Indiana VFW, Loyalty Day Chairman 1999-2000, and Assistant Sergeant of Arms, 2004-2005.
Steve said, "The best thing I like about the VFW is assisting Veterans at the VA Hospital and making them aware of their benefits. I also like doing membership drives and enrolling qualified veterans."