2023 March Unit Sequence
Here was our 2023 Parade Line-Up! Check out their inspiring stories of service and sacrifice. Join us and help us grow even stronger and more fun each year.
2023's line up is posted below for our 4 Nov 2023 parade. Please read the POWERFUL STORIES OF SERVICE
of these TALENTED PARADE UNITS
(Registered Organizations As of 3 Nov 2023)
Entry Name and Description
2023 Parade Announcer NARRATIVE,
Hawaii Island Veterans Day Parade 4 Nov 2023
1. Hawaii Police Department escort
Our police escort vehicle is from the Hawaii Police Department. The Hawai‘i Police Department is committed to providing the highest quality of police service and forming partnerships with the community making the Big Island a safe place to live, visit, and conduct business. Mahalo to all the Special Duty Officers helping make this parade safe and fun.
2. Hawaii Island Motorcycles “Aloha Thunder”
Welcome to Hilo’s version of Washington DC’s Rolling Thunder motorcycle convoy. Our “Aloha Thunder” motorcycle group today consists of several island motorcycle clubs and others who want to show their support. Led by Jerry Chang, they are here to honor those who have served and sacrificed for our ‘Ohanas, state, and nation. The riders enjoy handing out small American flags to keiki and other parade spectators.
3. US Navy Recruiting Station (Carry Parade banner)
Carrying today’s Grand Marshal Parade Banner is Hilo Navy Recruiting Station with leaders, Petty Officer Holley & Petty Officer Alesana alongside Big Island's Future Sailors. They continue what many proud Veterans have done by deterring aggression and allowing freedom of the seas. Hooyah Navy!
4. Hawaii Air National Guard Color Guard (291 CBCS)
The colors of the United States and the State of Hawaii are being carried today in the Hawaii Island Veterans Day Parade by airmen of Hilo’s own Hawaii Air National Guard 291st Combat Communications Squadron, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Naldrett. Please stand and honor the flag as the color guard passes by your position.
5. Hawaii County Band (Music)
The Hawaii County Band has been a fixture playing music on the Big Island since 1883, making it the second oldest band in the state. It plays monthly concerts, both in Hilo and Kailua-Kona. The band director is Paul Arceo. As always, we are delighted to have them help us “celebrate service”!
6. Island of Hawaii, OVS – Office of Veterans Services
The Office of Veterans’ Services is the principal state office responsible for the development and management of policies and programs related to veterans, their dependents, and/or survivors. OVS acts as a liaison for veterans between the Governor, local veteran organizations, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Our objectives are to advocate for veterans in obtaining State and federal entitlements.
7. Mayor Mitch Roth
Say Aloha to Hawaii Island’s own Mayor Mitch Roth since December 2020 after 8 years as the County Prosecuting Attorney. His vision of a sustainable Hawaii Island is to create a thriving community where our keiki can raise their keiki and their keiki raise their keiki. Mitch is a champion of taking care of our Veterans every day!
8. State Senator Tim Richards
Herbert M. "Tim" Richards, III –is our past Hawaii County Councilman representing District 9. Tim now represents the north shore of Hawaii Island as our State Senator for District 4. Tim’s deepest Mahalo goes out to all Veterans for your service and sacrifice!
9. County Council Member Ashley Kierkiewicz
Ashley Kierkiewicz is the Council Member for District 4 since 2018, covering Hawaiian Paradise Park to Leilani Estates to the ocean, and serves as Chair of the Policy Committee on Planning, Land Use & Development and in many other ways so all can thrive.
10. Escorting our elected officials is a Veteran who enjoys hanging out with friends who share a love of classic cars. He’s…
10A Randall Laronal, a US Army Iraq War Veteran driving his 1970 Chevy Nova SS (blue), along with his Cruising Veteran Supporters:
10B James Franco 1946 Willys Jeep (red)
10C Donny Gabriel 1942 Ford Jeep (green)
10D Ashton Hayashi 1943 Willys Jeep (gray)
10E Richard Matsumoto 1968 Ford Cougar (blue)
10F Maile Kaleo 1927 Chevy coupe (white)
11. Veterans Advisory Committee (Teal Thunderbird)
The Veterans Advisory Committee advises and makes recommendations to the county on island-wide veteran matters. The Chair of this committee, Michael Doolittle, is a Vietnam Veteran who actively supports veterans in many ways. Committee members come from all over the island and include: Vice-Chair, Marcia Brinkley, and today’s parade chair Deb Lewis. Michael is driving his teal Thunderbird.
12. The Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island
Please welcome back last year’s Community Parade Marshal – Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island. BGCBI has been a second home to various Big Island Youth for the past seven decades. From after-school academic support, cultural learning opportunities, and fun extracurriculars, this year BGCBI serves a daily average of 232 members throughout seven site locations on Hawaii Island.
13. Hilo High School Viking Band (Music)
Established in 1906, Hilo High School is rich in tradition and honor. The Hilo High School Viking Band is here today under the direction of Mrs. Ku’ulei Arceo and led by Drum Major Taylor Bugado. Performing God Bless America, the band proudly represents the blue and gold pride of Hilo High School. “Once a Viking, always a Viking!”
14. Hilo High School JROTC
Hilo High School's Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or JROTC, motivates young people to be better citizens. Their mission and objectives are promoting citizenship, developing leadership & self-discipline, strengthening self-esteem, improving physical fitness, emphasizing teamwork, and promoting high school graduation. The Viking Battalion is commanded by Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Zhenson Mansanas Lum-Ho and its Cadet Command Sergeant Major is Kyra Jade Mohundro. The JROTC Program’s Army Instructors are Major (Retired) Jeff Nason and Sergeant First Class (Retired) Dustin Amaral.
15. Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaii (Large Flag)
The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawai’i is a community service organization serving the Hilo area. The club’s signature project is the annual Police Officer and Firefighter of the Year banquet. As part of the National Exchange organization, the club is heavily involved in the prevention of child abuse. The club meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month and welcomes new members.
16. US Marine Corps Recruiting Command (Carry Grand Marshal banner)
Honored to be carrying today’s Grand Marshal Parade Banner are newly minted members of the US Marine Corps. Since 1775, the Marine Corps has proudly served the nation in every clime and place and with Honor, Courage and Commitment. When U.S. and allied interests are threatened, the President of the United States gives the order “send in the Marines.” Semper Fidelis Marines.
17. Grand Marshal - Hawaii County Parks & Recreation Veteran Leadership Team (Trk and Trailer)
Please put your hands together for 2023’s Grand Marshals - The Veteran Leadership Team of Hawaii County Parks & Recreation Director & Navy Veteran Maurice Messina and Deputy Director & Army Veteran Michelle Hiraishi. With 500 employees, Parks & Rec operates & maintains over 300 park facilities. They also provide many services for the public to include recreational & cultural programs and host the Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Committee. Island-wide facilities include veteran cemeteries, beach & neighborhood parks, senior & community centers, pools, gyms, ball fields, rodeo arenas, Hilo Municipal Golf Course, the drag strip and much more. Mahalo for doing so with excellence, integrity, and Aloha.
Today, 1st Squadron, 299th Cavalry Regiment Soldiers are riding with our Grand Marshals. Squadron Commander Lieutenant Colonel Kawika Hosea says Aloha and Mahalo to all the veterans and reminds us that the NG is always ready to answer the call to support and defend our Nation and State. KOA!
18. Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home (Van)
Yukio Okutsu State Veterans home is Hawaii’s only post acute care and rehabilitation service provider specifically designed to serve the special needs of veterans. Our community features dedicated short term rehabilitation services and residential long-term placement. We are proud to serve our country’s finest. 20 enthusiastic members from the home are in the parade or watching from the official tents along Kamehameha Avenue, along with the home’s staff who make it all possible. Please join our staff and tell them "We love our Veterans!"
19. AARP Hawaii (Car)
Please put your hands together for an organization that does so much for our Kupuna and is one of the reasons we’re able to hold this parade as our lead sponsor. AARP Hawaii is a non-profit, social impact organization with 140,000 members age 50 and older in Hawaii. AARP empowers veterans and military families to navigate life's transitions by providing information about caregiving, fraud prevention, work and jobs, and veterans benefits. AARP's goal is to help people choose how they live as they age by providing a wealth of information online along with an army of advisors along the way.
20. Botanical World Adventures (2-3 Segways & truck)
Botanical World Adventures honors the brave men and women who have served our country. Our zipline, bike and other tours are led by experienced staff, many of whom are veterans themselves. We're in Hakalau by mile marker 16 and proud to support our veterans year around.
21. VFW 3875 & Auxiliary/DAV 6 (C&F Trk w 20’ Trlr) [2 groups one trk]
Mahalo to C& F Trucking for carrying two special Veteran groups. Let’s hear it for the Veterans & Auxiliary Members of Post 3875 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars – based in Hilo and known as the Orr/Onizuka Post. VFW’s 1.2 million combat veterans work tirelessly to take care of all veterans. Every veteran counts.
Like the VFW, Hilo’s Disabled American Veterans, DAV #6 is one of many across the Nation where
veterans help veterans, particularly those with service-connected injuries, and another big voice for our vets and their families in Washington advocating for increased benefits and services. DAV provides transportation to medical appointments, assistance with benefit claims, connect veterans with meaningful employment through job fairs and jobhunting resources.
22. Hilo Elks Lodge (Car)
The Hilo Elks Lodge 759 is the local chapter of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks of the USA. Elks promote programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, meet the needs of today's veterans, and improve the quality of life of community members through a number of scholarships & other programs.
23. American Legion Post 3 (Decorated Vehicle)
The American Legion Post 3 Hilo is a veteran service organization first chartered in 1934 servicing veterans, active duty military. youth programs, and the community for over 80 years. The Post is accompanied by Department Hawaii District 4 Commander Antonio Gaspar, who’s also a member of the Veterans Advisory Committee.
24. Hawaii Horse Owners Association - Panaewa Stampede Rodeo (Horses)
Hawaii Horse Owners Association is a family-oriented horse club. They enjoy family trail rides, riding in parades, family fun days, and of course Rodeos like the Panaewa Stampede happening this 17-18 Feb 2024. They actively promote our Hawaiian Paniolo Culture with horseback riding and equestrian care.
25. American Red Cross
American Red Cross services for veterans date back to World War I. In Hilo, at the ONLY State Veterans Home in Hawaii, our volunteers proudly support resident veterans through activities such as kupuna drumming exercises, Bingo, and a weekly snack cart. If you would like to support our veteran community, sign up to become a Red Cross volunteer!
26. Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency (Civil Defense Command Post Vehicle)
Your Hawaii County Civil Defense salutes all Veterans for their service and defense of our Country. We hope to carry their spirit forward by preparing Hawaii Island communities for the threats and hazards of living on an isolated volcanic island. Mahalo!
27. Hawaii Island LGBTQ Pride
Members of the LGBTQ were denied the right to openly bear arms in service to their country until that right was restored in 29 Jan 2021. LGBTQ Veterans who served take Pride in the sacrifices they made for the America they love.
28. Order of the Eastern Star Chapter #1
The Hilo Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, better known as OES, was founded in 1898 and was the first Chapter established off the mainland USA. The Order of the Eastern Star is part of the Masonic Family in which both men and women attend. Our purpose is to assist others by raising money for Cancer Research, Shrine Hospitals for Children, endowments to the University of Hawaii, Hilo, Hawaii Community College and Hawaii Community Foundation.
29. Fire Mission – Military Honors (2 Vehicles – PU Trk w/18’ tlr - motorcycle and hearse, Broncho with rifle team members)
The Lone Soldier and Fire Mission-Military Honors has dedicated over 300 veteran burials by Rifle Salute and TAPS. We recognize the strength and pride of Veteran Spouses, who also suffer the pain of their spouse’s military service. A modified Honor-Tribute protocol also serves a new breed of Heroes -Police, Fire and EMS. This Harley-Hearse accommodates patron burials within Hilo area.
30. Veteran Jeff Gray & netcom (razor and a PU Trk/trl)
30A. Jeff Gray - President of netcom Enterprises (a veteran owned company) is a US Army M1A1 Tank Commander and US Army Drill Sergeant Veteran,
30B. Jim Aldridge is a US Army Lineman/Wireman Veteran.
31. BANNER/Community Parade Marshal:
Here comes our Community Parade Marshal Banner carried by members of UH Hilo Women’s Softball Team. We salute you for supporting our community by volunteering today to make this parade possible!
32. Community Parade Marshal Hawaii Rotary - District 5000
Let’s put our hands together for our Community Parade Marshal. Rotary International is a worldwide service organization that has over 1.5 million members and is committed to serving communities and making a positive impact globally. In Hawaii, there are currently 53 Rotary clubs consisting of 1500 members. The east side of the Big Island has five clubs with approximately 250 members, while the west side has four clubs with around 100 members. Rotarians are people of action and are dedicated to prioritizing service above self.
33. Hilo Woman’s Club
Established in 1921, the Hilo Woman’s Club has served the community for 102 years. Comprised of passionate and dedicated women, the club has led various educational, social, and civic development projects, provides scholarships to East Hawaii students, and offers their clubhouse for rent to benefit the community and families.
34. Hawaii Care Choices (formerly Hospice of Hilo)
Hawai'i Care Choices is a 4 Star We Honor Veterans organization offering a community-based in-home care program designed for Veterans living with serious illness. Our Mission:To improve the lives of those we touch by offering support, guidance and compassionate care of body, mind, and spirit.
35. SSG James Kimo Pihana (Honda CRV)
Combat wounded veteran SSG James K. Pihana, is better known as Kimo to his friends. Kimo served in the 9th Infantry Division Vietnam and is a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He is a Hawaiian Cultural Practitioner, author, and organizer for the international American Indian Pow Wow festivities annually held in Hilo Hawaii.
36. The Waiākea High School Band
The Waiākea High School Band would like to honor our veterans with America on Parade, featuring the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Veterans, thank you for your bravery and sacrifices. We are eternally grateful for all you have done to ensure our nation's liberty.
37. VFW 3830 Post & Auxiliary(Pahoa)
We are Veterans from VFW Post 3830 in Pahoa with our Auxiliary members. Our mission is to honor those who served. Every Veteran Counts!
38. Vietnam 50th Anniversary Veteran Banner (UH Tennis)
Carrying the Vietnam 50th Anniversary are members of the UH Hilo Women’s Tennis team, joining an Army of volunteers today making our parade possible. Thank you Ladies.
39. The Wall That Heals – Hawaii County
Hilo will host The Wall That Heals, a ¾-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., from 22 to 28 Jan 2024. The Wall bears the names of the 58,281 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam, 278 of whom claimed Hawai’i as their home of record. The exhibit will be open to the public 24 hours a day to provide a healing experience for veterans and their families, and to honor the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War.
40. Hawaii Loa Chapter – Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)
Hawai'i Loa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution - America's First Veterans - is a non-profit organization dedicated to community service, supporting those who serve our nation, historic preservation and education of children. Hawai'i Loa Chapter is a partner of the Vietnam War 50th anniversary commemoration and of the Wall That Heals.
41. HIVM Member - Veteran & Alaska Pilot Jay Kelley
HIVM is a non-profit dedicated to Support East Hawaii Veterans. Because of HIVM’s untiring efforts, a 92 unit living center for senior veterans is under construction next to UH Hilo with completion expected summer 2024. A medical clinic makai of the living center is in the planning stages. Scholarships for local qualified high schoolers will be offered soon after that.
42. Aloha Council, Boy Scouts, Pukahi District
The Aloha Council of the Boy Scouts of America serves more than 4,000 youth throughout Hawaii, Guam, and American Samoa. Scouting is the premier youth development and leadership program in the Hawaii-Pacific region!
43. Girl Scouts of Hawaii Troop 26
Girl Scouts of Hawaii Troop 26 is home to 15 girls aging from kindergarten to 8th grade. Girl Scouts of Hawaii create the world they want to live in and strive to make it better every single day.
44. Business Parade Marshal Banner with US Army Recruiting & UHH Softball
Escorting our UH Hilo Women’s Softball Team carrying this year’s Business Parade Marshal Banner are members of the Hilo US Army Recruiting Team of Sergeant First Class Ea and Staff Sergeant Amay, who continue to recruit America’s best and brightest volunteers - willing and able to deploy, engage, and fight against all enemies of our country, our freedoms, and the American way of life. BE ALL YOU CAN BE! GO ARMY! HOOAH!
45. Business Parade Marshal - Big Island Toyota (EV Truck)
Please Welcome this year’s Business Parade Marshal - Big Island Toyota. Hilo GM Kurt Williams is driving their latest EV Car. Big Island Toyota traces its roots to pre-statehood and enjoys an enduring legacy of success. Built into its highly successful business model is a commitment to give back to the community it serves (keiki, Kupuna, or business). In generous ways throughout the year, Big Island Toyota sponsorships help make events like this parade possible.
46. Keaau High School Band
Keaau High School Band is under the direction of Lisa Wells. Keaau High School recently celebrated its 20th graduating class, marking it as one of the newest high schools on the island. The Keaau High School band members are proud to honor our veterans with a performance of Katy Perry's "Firework."
48. Lyman House Memorial Museum
The Lyman Museum honors ALL of America’s veterans, past, present, and future. Two members of the Lyman family were the first persons of Native Hawaiian ancestry to serve as Brigadier Generals in the U.S. Army. Today, and each year between Armed Forces Day and Labor Day, card-carrying active-duty U.S. military personnel and their families—AND veterans too!—can enjoy the Lyman Museum free of charge!
49. Hilo Knights of Columbus from Council 15952 and Sir Knights from Assembly 2938
Hilo Knights of Columbus from Council 15952 and Sir Knights from Assembly 2938 are focused on selfless acts of charity, fraternity, unity and patriotism, with focus on family, church and the community. They act locally, such as with Hilo's Food Basket, and globally, in support of persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
50. Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) Command
US Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area has been proudly supporting military training since 1956. They also partner with other federal, state and county agencies for mutual aid and training. Say aloha to the US Army Command Team - Lieutenant Colonel Tim Alvarado and his family, Command Sergeant Major Jessica Cho, PTA staff and 25th Infantry Division Soldiers participating in the large scale exercise going on right now at PTA. PTA is proud to be part of the Hawaii Island community.
51. Ho`ōla Farms
Ho`ōla Farms is a non-profit organization created to support our military Veterans and community members interested in farming and ranching by providing agribusiness education. Ho`ōla Farms also runs the Hilo Food Hub, a commercial kitchen, and Hawai’i Farm-to-Car, a weekly online farmers market that accepts SNAP and DA BUX. Learn more about their programs at hoolafarms.org.
52. Lavaloha Chocolate Farm
Lavaloha is a small agricultural business Veteran Owned and Operated. Our doors opened in 2017 but closed temporarily during 2020. Only now are we able to push forward and start helping our community one group at a time. We offer veteran and military discounts and will be starting to host community events geared towards past and present service members.
53. Hawaii National Guard Youth Challenge Academy
Hawaii National Guard Youth Challenge Academy- Their Mission is to empower Hawaii's "at promise" Youth for educational and workforce success by engaging them in rigorous and dynamic approaches to learning opportunities that promote intellectual, -physical, and emotional growth. Dream, Believe, Achieve!
54. Hilo Vet Center
The Hilo and Kona Vet Centers provide re-adjustment counseling for Combat Veterans and their families before, during and after any war time period. They also help with Military Sexual Trauma and Bereavement Counseling and referral to other agencies that help with homelessness, healthcare, elderly services, and financial needs. Maricar Souza and the Hilo Vet Center offer group activities such as fishing, golf, stand up paddle board, and basketball and hosts an annual Women Veteran Day Event and Veteran Fishing tournament. Veterans - make sure one of your first stops to live on this island is to register at your local Vet Center.
55. HOPE Services Hawaii, Inc.
(HOPE) is a nonprofit organization helping Hawai’i Island residents avoid and overcome homelessness. As a previous Community parade marshal, HOPE provides 165 emergency shelter beds, street outreach, street medicine, clinical behavioral health, housing, case management, representative payee, veterans’ services, and more, with the goal of helping our neighbors get housed and stay housed. Our Hawai’i is better when we all have a place to call home. HOPE Services asks you to support our community’s work to end veteran homelessness.
56. The East Hawaii County Republican Party
The East Hawaii County Republican Party would like to thank all veterans for their service & sacrifice for our Republic. Hawaii Republicans Stand for Hawaii in support of freedom, liberty & justice for all citizens.
57. The Hawaii Association of Filipino Educators (HAFE) & Fil-Am Community of East Hawaii (FACEH
The Hawaii Association of Filipino Educators is a non-profit organization of Filipino educators and researchers, and the Fil-Am Community of East Hawaii is also a non-profit organization that unifies diverse people, upholds Filipino and American values, and develops community service.
58. Red Ribbon Volunteers
Red Ribbon Week Campaign is the largest, longest serving drug prevention organization in America. Red Ribbon Week October 23-31 memorializes DEA special agent Enriqué “Kiki” Camarena, killed in the line of duty in Mexico in 1985. The red ribbon remembers his sacrifice and inspires our kids to be drug-free. Join us today in our MISSION!
59. UH Hilo Athletic Teams
Many volunteers from several UH Hilo Athletic Teams make this parade possible at the staging area, at the announcer booths, and along the parade route carrying banners and flags. The UH Hilo Women’s Softball Coach Aisha Sueda would like to thank all veterans for their service and sacrifice to our country. Without your dedicated service we would not be able to play the sports we love. Mahalo and Happy Veterans Day!
60. Taishoji Taiko
Conen’s is a proud Veterans Parade sponsor transporting our next parade unit. Closing out our music today is Hilo’s own Taishoji Taiko. Listen and see why they are fan-favorite! Founded in 1989, Taishoji Taiko is honored to be part of the parade and wish to dedicate their performance in gratitude to our veterans.
61. Pepeekeo Volunteer 1A Fire Truck.
We owe a tremendous debt to our volunteer Fire Fighters. Joining us today and closing out our parade is Pepeekeo Volunteer 1A - This Volunteer company has been serving the community for over 30 years. On board we’re honored to have retired Sergeant First Class Kalani Haina from the Hawaii National Guard. Put your hands together to thank our island Fire Department team, who stay vigilant to keep us safe 24/7.
Aviation Parade Entries
62. UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter Flyover
Be sure to keep your eyes and ears out for our aviation participants. Today, a military UH 60 Black Hawk is flying. This helicopter is a four-blade, twin-engine, medium-lift utility military helicopter capable of diverse missions and part of our Hawaii Army National Guard’s inventory. Thanks to the coordination of Captain John Worthington and members of Hilo’s Aviation Support Facility.
63. Flying a silver Grumman. Is Vietnam Veteran ADA Richard Bridges USS Forestall with Squadron VAQ130 Zappers (Fly by)
64. Flying the only Training Aircraft C-172. White w/blue stripe aircraft is flown by 10 yr Air Force Veteran Scott Wilson CFI
Bob Arthurs organizing
As we end today’s parade, please thank the many volunteers and sponsors who gave their time, talent, and treasure to host an amazing parade today!
Be sure to SAVE THE DATE for 2024. Our next Hawaii Island Veterans Day Parade will be held Saturday, 9 November, 2024 starting again at 10 am.