OCEAN COUNTY – Join the community in honoring our local heroes at the annual Ocean County Veterans Day Parade on November 11, Veterans Day, in downtown Toms River.
The parade will kick off at 9:45 a.m. at the Toms River Shopping Center on Route 37. Military vehicles, elected officials, civic groups, first responders, local high school marching bands and a showcase of vintage cars will parade down Main Street and east onto Washington Street, making a final stop at Town Hall for the post-parade ceremony.
“Veterans Day is a very important day to celebrate,” said Mayor Kelaher. “It is especially important that we thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime – for their dedicated service to our country and for risking their lives to keep us safe.”
This year’s Grand Marshals leading the parade are Sergeant John Elley and Sergeant Michael Weigand. Both were awarded Grand Marshal Proclamations from the Toms River Township Council on October 22, 2019.
Sergeant John Elley graduated from Central Regional High School in 1999. With his mother’s permission, Sgt. Elley enlisted in the military at the young age of 17. Sgt. Elley was later trained in the field of carpentry and masonry specialist for the US Army Corps of Engineers. During his deployment in Iraq he assisted in base camp security, building guard towers and dining facilities and also assisted in many humanitarian missions. He reached the rank of Sergeant E-5 before leaving the US Army in 2009.
Sgt. Elley is a life member at A. Jay Weeks VFW Post 6063 in 2016 and loves to help veterans and their families. He is very active in the VFW, serving as Senior Vice Commander of Post 6063 in Toms River as well as District Commander of the Ocean County VFW.
Also named Grand Marshal for the 2019 parade is US Marine Corps Sergeant Michael Robert Weigand of Toms River, who served 14 years in the service. Sgt. Weigand enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and graduated from the India Co; 3rd Battalion at Parris Island in 2000. While in the Marine Corps, Sgt. Weigand performed various duties including heavy equipment operator, amphibious assault vehicle operator and II Marine Expeditionary Force Unit. In 2003, Sgt. Weigand was deployed to Iraq and Kuwait as a heavy equipment operator. He was deployed again in 2006 and 2008 to Iraq as an amphibious assault vehicle operator.
Throughout his military career, Sgt. Weigand received numerous awards including the Combat Action Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, National Defense Medal, War on Terrorism Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the Marine Corps Armed Forces Reserve Medal.
“These two Grand Marshals are exemplary individuals who will lead hundreds of veterans, civic groups and musical bands at this very meaningful event,” said Mayor Kelaher.
The post-parade ceremony will feature speakers and honored guests, a rifle salute, and the placing of the wreath on the Veteran’s monument.
There is no rain date scheduled for this event. In the event of inclement weather, the student participation will be canceled at 5 p.m. the day prior to the parade. Listen for announcements on 92.7 WOBM.
If the parade is canceled, a ceremony will take place in Town Hall in the L. Manuel Hirsbhlond Meeting Room at 10 a.m.