by Lisa Tome
Eugene Daley knows how important the Salute to Veterans is to those who served in the armed forces.
Daley, the new president of Salute to Cecil County Veterans, Inc. spent nine years serving in the U.S. Army. He took over leading the organization earlier this year. He is a North East native and member of the North East VFW. He said he heard that the former Salute group was disbanding last year so he volunteered to lead the group, taking over in January.
Previously, the group's primary focus was raising funds for, planning, and organizing the annual Cecil County Salute which was held each July 3 in North East Town Park. That event included patriotic music, fireworks, and honoring of military groups each year. "The local veterans organizations are not that interested in fireworks. They are interested in having an event for the veterans without the fireworks," said Daley. He explained that the fireworks cost about $25,000 per year to host and the use of the barge where the fireworks were formerly launched is uncertain.
In lieu of fireworks, this year, there will be a July 3 laser light show, on a 30 by 40 foot screen in the park. There will also be music and veteran-focused events and vendors. Another big change is plans for there to be a Salute to Veterans Parade. That parade is tentatively scheduled for July 3 at 3 p.m. in the Town of North East. "It will be a small parade and focus on veterans," said Daley.
The vendors in the park will also be primarily veterans organizations. They will sell food, drinks, and other items. "Whatever money they make, they take," said Daley. He said there has been a great deal of interest from local groups in participating.
Another major fundraiser for the Salute is the sale of stickers. For $2, you can help the cause by buying a Salute to Veterans sticker at North East Town Hall. Other items, such as t-shirts and hats, will soon be available. The proceeds of those sales will fund the laser light show.