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Edward Hall named grand marshal of Howard County Veterans Day Parade

The Howard County Veterans Foundation with the Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony Planning Committee named Edward A. Hall grand marshal of the 2023 Howard County Veterans Day Parade. Organizers bestow the grand marshal title on an individual who represents the values and morals of the Howard County community of veterans and military families.

Hall retired as a lieutenant colonel after 24 years of service with the U.S. Marine Corps. His career with the Marines included service as an infantry officer and rifle platoon leader, commanding officer of a naval security group and head of electronic intelligence support and commercial mobile radio service operations for the Fleet Marine Force Atlantic Command.

Outside his military service, Hall is president and founder of TelecomXchange International, a telecom-based test, evaluation and support firm. Previously, he spent seven years at the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association.

Hall is a lifetime member of the Marine Corps League, Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. He was a commander of the American Legion Post 156 in Ellicott City. He also serves as commander of the Joint Military Council in Howard County, paymaster for a detachment of the Marine Corps League and president emeritus of the Old Post Rifle and Pistol Club.

His service to the veteran community includes helping to establish the Howard County Veterans Day Parade in 2015. The parade, which this year begins at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12, in Columbia’s Merriweather District, will honor all branches of the U.S. military, the National Guard, first responders and their families. As grand marshal, Hall will be recognized at the parade and lakefront ceremony.

To learn more about the Howard County Veterans Day Parade, visit HowardCountyVeterans.org/parade.

Donate to Bailey’s Bundles at the 2023 Veterans Day Parade

During this year’s Howard County Veterans Day Parade & Celebration, the Columbia Association and POST 156 are collaborating with Bailey’s Bundles to collect donated items for care packages to be sent overseas to deployed troops. These care packages continue the legacy of Vivian “Millie” Bailey, who served as a first lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps during World War 2 and was a longtime champion of Veterans in the Howard County community.

You’re welcome to donate items from the list below to help fill boxes that will be sent to American service men and women across the globe. Donation drop boxes will be stationed at the Lakefront prior to the celebration.

All donated items should be small, portable and individually wrapped for ease of distribution. Snacks should be in small packages.

  • Kind Bars
  • LaraBars
  • Protein bars, granola bars or nut bars
  • Beef jerky or Slim Jims
  • Pringles (small snack size containers)
  • Trail mix, peanuts, mixed nuts, etc.
  • Cheez-its, cheese or peanut butter crackers
  • Cookies
  • Tuna Lunches to Go
  • Individual Drink mix packets (i.e. – Crystal Light, Mio, Gatorade, Propel)
  • Word puzzles, crossword puzzles, Sudoku

PRESS RELEASE, JUNE 2023

The Howard County Veterans Foundation unveiled the design of the Howard County Veterans and Military Families Monument planned for the lakefront in downtown Columbia. The monument design was introduced at a public presentation June 7 at the Vivian C. “Millie” Bailey Park, where the monument will stand.

Monument case statement PDF with additional facts, diagram, timeline and background

“We’re building a monument that recognizes, preserves and pays tribute to the service and sacrifice of veterans and military families in Howard County and deepens the public’s appreciation of the courage, conviction and sacrifice made by them in support of our community and nation,” said Robert Gillette, president of the Howard County Veterans Foundation. “We hope everyone who visits the monument will leave with a renewed sense of gratitude at the profound commitment of military service.” 

The monument will cover 25,000 square feet and feature a sculpture made of three symbolic stars. The base star will represent the greater community who support the military and their families when someone is deployed. The blue star commemorates military service members and families. A hollow gold star embedded in the blue star recognizes the hole left with the loss of service members who have died in the line of duty. 

A reflecting pond and bench will circle the sculpture and complete the monument, which will be engraved with words and quotes about the virtues of service, freedom and democracy. 

The Howard County Veterans Foundation is raising $2.75 million to build and maintain the monument. Maryland grants totaling $1.5 million, Howard County grants totaling $295,000 and private donations totaling $51,000 comprise the initial funding. 

“Howard County is home to more than 20,000 veterans who have served our country with conviction and courage. As a nation, we owe a debt of gratitude to the countless servicemembers who have dedicated their lives to protect and defend our country,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. 

“As the proud son and grandson of veterans, I know the importance of paying our respect and gratitude to these heroes firsthand. We are honored to partner with the Veterans Foundation and the state of Maryland to support the design and construction of a Veterans and Military Families Monument in downtown Columbia. This meaningful and powerful monument will serve as a place of recognition, remembrance and reflection for the many veterans and military families who have sacrificed in service to our country.” 

According to the Howard County Office of Veterans and Military Families, Howard County’s population includes more than 14,000 residents commuting to jobs at Fort George G. Meade and more than 1,000 students in the county’s public schools who have a parent on active duty. 

Artist Larry Kirkland designed the monument. He has created large-scale environmental installations at hospitals, medical schools, universities and transit centers throughout the world, including the Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial, Sarasota National Cemetery and the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C. He has been working on the Howard County Veterans and Military Families Monument since 2017. 

“We’ve spent over five years carefully considering and designing every detail of the veterans monument to properly pay tribute to our veterans and families,” Gillette said. “We want it to be a place for the community to gather on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day and throughout the year to celebrate the freedoms and privileges our veterans swore an oath to protect.” 

PRESS RELEASE, MAY 2023

May 25, 2023
Media contact:
Andrew Aldrich
410-740-5657, ext. 7
410-259-9695 (cell)
andrew@bonnieheneson.com

Howard County Veterans Foundation to unveil monument design

COLUMBIA, Md. — The Howard County Veterans Foundation will unveil the design of the Howard County Veterans and Military Families Monument planned for downtown Columbia. The public presentation will take place on Wednesday, June 7, at 11 a.m. at the Vivian C. “Millie” Bailey Park at the lakefront in downtown Columbia.

“We’ve been designing and working toward this monument for over five years, and we’re thrilled to finally unveil our design to the public,” said Robert Gillette, president of the Howard County Veterans Foundation. “The monument will be a beautiful, powerful tribute to our veterans in Howard County and beyond, as well as to their families, and will recognize, preserve and celebrate their service and sacrifice.”

The design presentation will showcase renderings of the monument to the public for the first time.

“Howard County is home to more than 20,000 veterans who have served our country with conviction and courage. As a nation, we owe a debt of gratitude to the countless servicemembers who have dedicated their lives to protect and defend our country,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball.

“As the proud son and grandson of veterans, I know the importance of paying our respect and gratitude to these heroes firsthand. We are honored to partner with the Veterans Foundation and the state of Maryland to support the design and construction of a Veterans and Military Families Monument in downtown Columbia. This meaningful and powerful monument will serve as a place of recognition, remembrance and reflection for the many veterans and military families who have sacrificed in service to our country.”

According to the Howard County Office of Veterans and Military Families, Howard County’s population includes more than 14,000 residents commuting to jobs at Fort George G. Meade and more than 1,000 students in the county’s public schools who have a parent on active duty.

The Howard County Veterans Foundation honors the service and sacrifice of veterans and their families who live, work or play in Howard County. The foundation holds events dedicated to veterans issues and is developing the Howard County Veterans and Military Families Monument. (HowardCountyVeterans.org)

PRESS RELEASE, NOV 2022

Nov. 3, 2022
Media contact:
Andrew Aldrich
410-740-5657, ext. 7
410-259-9695 (cell)
andrew@bonnieheneson.com

Topaz Navarro named grand marshal of Howard County Veterans Day Parade

COLUMBIA, Md.—The Howard County Veterans Foundation with the Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony Planning Committee named Topaz Navarro grand marshal of the 2022 Howard County Veterans Day Parade. Organizers bestow the grand marshal title on an individual who represents the values and morals of the Howard County community of veterans and military families.

“For this year’s parade, the theme is ‘honor through service.’ Topaz certainly represents the theme. With his commitment to helping, veterans who struggle with PTSD and other mental health concerns have a friend in Topaz,” said Robert Gillette, president of the Howard County Veterans Foundation.

Navarro is a retired sergeant major and decorated combat veteran with over 27 years of service to the U.S. Army and special operations. Over the course of his career, Navarro served in every position from team sergeant to troop sergeant major while conducting deployments to the Middle East and North Africa.

He serves as vice president of the Howard County board of directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and facilitates the alliance’s Connections Veterans Peer Support Group, a free peer-to-peer support group for veterans living with mental illness. Navarro sits on additional councils and boards that raise awareness and provide support to military veterans and active duty servicemembers, including the Work Play Obsession All In Foundation, National Association of Minority Veterans and Howard County Local Health Improvement Coalition.

The Howard County Veterans Day Parade, which begins at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13, in Columbia’s Merriweather District, will honor all branches of the U.S. military, the National Guard, first responders and their families. As grand marshal, Navarro will be recognized at the parade and lakefront ceremony.

To learn more about the Howard County Veterans Day Parade, visit HowardCountyVeterans.org/parade.

Howard County Veterans Foundation honors the services and sacrifices of veterans and their families who live, work or play in Howard County. The foundation holds events dedicated to veterans’ issues and is developing the Howard County Veterans Monument.

PRESS RELEASE, NOV 2021

Nov. 1, 2021
Media contact:
Andrew Aldrich
410-740-5657, ext. 7
410-259-9695 (cell)
andrew@bonnieheneson.com

Edward Lawrence Killen named Grand Marshal of 2021 Howard County Veterans Day Parade

COLUMBIA, Md.—The Howard County Veterans Foundation Veterans Day Committee named the late Edward Lawrence “Larry” Killen as the Grand Marshal of the 2021 Howard County Veterans Day Parade. The Grand Marshal title is bestowed upon an individual who represents the values and morals of the Howard County community of Veterans and military families.

Killen served in the Vietnam War as a Chinese linguist with the U.S. Navy and later with the U.S. Army Reserve 11th Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) Battalion in the Balkans and the Middle East. He was also a firefighter for Prince George’s County at Kentland Station 46 and a paramedic firefighter with the 3rd Battalion.

Killen was chairman of the Howard County Veterans Day Committee from 2015 to 2019 and a past commander of the American Legion Adams, Hanna, Moore Memorial Post 156. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign War. He passed away in March 2021.

“Larry Killen was an important and involved member of the Howard County Veterans community,” said Robert Gilette, president of the Howard County Veterans Foundation. “We salute his memory and legacy as the 2021 Howard County Veterans Day Parade Grand Marshal.”

The parade, which begins at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 7, in Columbia’s Merriweather District, will honor all branches of the U.S. Military, the National Guard, first responders and their families. As Grand Marshal, Killen will be recognized at the parade and lakefront ceremony.

To learn more about the Howard County Veterans Day Parade, visit: http://www.howardcountyveterans.org/parade.

Howard County Veterans Foundation honors the services and sacrifices of Veterans and their families who live, work or play in Howard County. The foundation holds events dedicated to Veterans’ issues and is developing the Howard County Veterans Monument.