Annual parade marches through West Grove
● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
As the 21st annual Avon Grove Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony began to gather in proper file in the parking lot of Avon Grove High School early on May 25, the long line of participants who climbed into vehicles, floats or fell into line had very little idea of the crowds that awaited their arrival, but after the parade began at 9 a.m., those participating soon knew.
Before hundreds of local residents, friends and family members who lined the parade route along State Road and Prospect Avenue, the annual West Grove Borough tradition was a generous Who's Who of local departments and organizations – all heightened in spirit by the Avon Grove High School Marching Band.
Among the participants in this year's parade were several Cub Scout, Girl Scout and Boy Scout groups, players and coaches from the Avon Grove Little League, the West Grove Rotary Club, the Avon Grove Lions Club, the Greater Pennsylvania Historical Society, students from Assumption BVM, a fleet of vehicles from the West Grove and Avondale fire departments, representatives from the Southern Chester County regional Police Department, and several antique vehicles.
State Sen. Andrew Dinniman, Pa. Rep. John Lawrence and New Garden Township Supervisor Steve Allaband also participated. At the conclusion of the parade, a memorial service took place at the Avon Grove Veterans Memorial Park on East Evergreen Street, which included welcome remarks by Lt. Col. Hank Detering (USMC -Ret.), the National Anthem by the Avon Grove High School Marching Band; and an invocation by Rev. Charles Gross of West Grove Presbyterian Church.
Lawrence Davidson, a U.S. Army veteran and the Director of Veterans Affairs for Chester County, served as guest speaker of the event, which was followed by Davidson and parade organizer John Ruffini laying a wreath at the memorial. The service ended with a benediction by Rev. Jim Mundell of the West Grove United Methodist Church, and a performance of “Amazing Grace” by Pipe Major Andrew McIntyre.
Following the service, guests were invited to the West Grove Presbyterian Church to enjoy complimentary hot dogs and drinks provided by the West Grove Auxiliary, and music by Green Eggs & Jam.
“My father Domenico Ruffini began this parade 21 years ago, and I've helped him ever since,” said parade organizer John Ruffini. “Every year I will head up to Avon Grove High School to make sure everything is going smoothly, but it's not really necessary, because everyone knows what to do by now.
“This annual parade provides an opportunity for a close-knit town to get together, and it's also an opportunity for our younger generations to know why we have these parades, to appreciate those who have given their lives for our freedom.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.