The annual West Chester Memorial Day Parade is followed immediately by a ceremony at West Chester Cemetery, where those who have served and those who continue to serve in the military are honored. Events are organized by the VFW Post 7696.
Jerry Nelson is recognized as this year’s parade grand marshal. Mr. Nelson, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War, was one of two people chosen for Butler County’s Veterans of the Year award in 2018. Mr. Nelson enlisted in 1966, functioning as a combat medic, a biological scientist and a specialist in the medical services corps. He received the Service Commendation Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and the Sharpshooter Medal. Mr. Nelson is the founding commander of the West Chester American Legion Post 681 and known locally for his work with Lakota Local Schools students.
Serving as guest speaker is retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Jennifer Gross, a current member of American Legion Post 681 and VFW Post 7696, becoming the latter’s first active female inductee in February. Mrs. Gross served as a flight nurse in the Bosnian conflict, was the flight nurse on call when casualties were called in for the Battle of Mogadishu and served in Saudi Arabia, in Operation Desert Storm. Mrs. Gross earned degrees from the University of Missouri and the University of Cincinnati and has practiced medicine for 15 years as a family nurse practitioner. She and her husband Chris live in West Chester with their sons, Christian and Joshua.
West Chester Cemetery (aka Brookside Cemetery) is the final resting place for more than 700 veterans, including 100 who served in the Civil War and one who served in the Revolutionary War. The names of veterans buried here are read aloud each year by members of the West Chester ~ Union Township Historical Society before the parade.
Learn more at www.WestChesterOH.org.