Celoron Hosts Memorial Day Service

The Village of Celoron and the Celoron American Legion Herman Kent Post 777 hosted a Memorial Day service and parade Monday.

The service, which began at 9 a.m. at Lucille Ball Memorial Park in Celoron, featured speeches by Bob Anderson, commander of the Herman Kent American Legion Post 777; Pete Ochocki, commander Lakewood’s American Legion 1286; an honor guard and firing squad from Herman Kent Post 777 and a contingent of the 822nd Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.

According to Scott Schrecengost, mayor of Celoron, the celebration is held to honor all the fallen men and women who have fought for freedom.

“It’s always impressive with the Canadians down here and all of our service people,” said Schrecengost.

The main speaker for the Village of Celoron and the Celoron American Legion Herman Kent Post 777 Memorial Day service and parade was

Lt. Col. Paul Fardink, U.S. Army retired. He spoke about his relationship with former mayor Jack Keeney, a mentor.

“Dick Kogut asked me to do the speech because he knows what a great friend I was with mayor Keeney since 1962 when he coached me at Panama,” said Fardink. “He was a real mentor to me and I probably wouldn’t have gone to West Point if it wasn’t for him. I think the celebration we have here is wonderful. The best thing about Western New York is that all these villages and towns have a parade. There is a lot of patriotism alive and well in Western New York.”

The contingent of the 822nd Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets featured 39 cadets. The contingent was led by Tom Smith, command officer, and Lt. Colonel Ronald F. Gowing. The group brings with them a band, a flag party and an honor guard.

“We came out here to assist the Herman Kent American Legion Post 777 in their celebration of Memorial Day,” said Smith. “Representatives of that legion come up to us for our similar celebrations in Canada so it’s a mutual relationship that we’ve had for at least the last 15 years. The cadets love the experience because they are treated well here and the hosts are very gracious.”

Following the service, a parade began at Southwestern High School at 10:45 a.m. The parade ended at Sunset Hill Cemetery. A second service was held at the cemetery, followed by refreshments at the Lakewood American Legion 1286.