Bobby Fortuna, a 10 year old boy with a critical health need, has been selected as the Grand Marshal for the July 4th Hawley Independence Day Parade, Mayor Kevin Hawk announced.
HAWLEY - Bobby Fortuna, a 10 year old boy with a critical health need, has been selected as the Grand Marshal for the July 4th Hawley Independence Day Parade, Mayor Kevin Hawk announced.
The Wallenpaupack North Intermediate School student has been waiting for a kidney transplant. Several community fundraisers have been held to benefit Fortuna, including a talent show recently held at the school and a spaghetti dinner at the Hawley Diner. More are planned.
Bobby is the son of Bob and Janine Fortuna of Hawley.
“Bob and I are very proud that Council has chosen Bobby for such an honor,” Janine Fortuna told The News Eagle. “Bobby was very excited about it when we told him about their announcement.
She expressed thanks to the Mayor, Borough Council and the community at large “for making him feel so special through what could be a very difficult diagnosis for a child to understand.”
Mrs. Fortuna added that the love and support shown them makes them feel stronger as a family.
For more information about Bobby, search A Kidney For Bobby O’Positive on Facebook.
The Independence Day parade is set for Tuesday, July 4 at noon. The parade lines up in the area of Church Street and Maple Avenue, and proceeds down Main Avenue as far as Bingham Park.
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the current 4th of July parade tradition. The parade started was started in 1967 by the Hawley Public Library, in conjunction with the Library’s Lawn Social, Margaret “Peg” Murphy, library founder, recalled. The library building had been dedicated only months before- on October 30, 1966, in honor of Helen Decker Blough.
The annual Hawley Carnival, held in Bingham Park, begins that day, July 4, and runs through July 8. The carnival is a benefit for the Hawley Borough Police and Hawley Parks & Recreation Commission.
Police Chief Daniel Drake said that the police are planning a fundraiser for the boy, Bobby Fortuna, near the carnival ticket booth.
National Honor Society students from Wallenpaupack may be assisting this year with the ticket booth.
More information about the carnival will be announced.
Memorial Day parade idea
Concerns were raised with the traditional route of the Hawley Memorial Day Parade, held on the Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day Weekend. Deputy Fire Chief Eugene E. Krause told Council that he spoke again with Chief Drake about possible alternative routes, to improve traffic detours.
The way it is currently, he said, is “chaos,” a word echoed by Chief Drake.
For over a century, the parade has made a long route around from Main Avenue to the Eddy Bridge (at the end of Church Street by Cora’s 1850 Bistro), where the American Legion holds a wreath-dropping ceremony in the river.
This route was favored in the very beginning when the Civil War veterans in town, belonging to the James Thorpe Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), would lead the parade, drop a wreath in the river and then finish with a ceremony at the old Walnut Grove Cemetery just up the steep hill from the bridge. The American Legion took over the wreath ceremony once the Wilson-Kelch Post was formed in 1919.
The parade was much longer than in past decades.
Krause pointed out that the Memorial Day parade could be adjusted by following the same, shorter route as the July 4th parade, heading up Main Avenue towards the park instead of the other way.
“There probably is no reason why with the size the Memorial Day parade is now, it can’t be done the same way…,” Krause said. “Line up people on Church Street and come over, stop at the bridge (the Main Avenue bridge that spans the Lackawaxen River) and do a service and go over to the park to do the service.”
The Legion Post presently conducts a service at the Veterans Monument on Park Place near Bingham Park just before the start of the parade. This way, the wreath service could be done from the Main Avenue Bridge rather than the Eddy (Church Street) Bridge, and immediately after, hold the ceremony at the monument.
Chief Drake stated that another idea would be to have a longer route, starting by Paupack Fuel, blocking off Church Street starting at Cora’s restaurant near the Eddy Bridge. The parade would then head up Church Street and up Main Avenue, ending at Bingham Park.
“I literally need 13 people to block streets and we still gave some issues,” Chief Drake said about the present, traditional route.
Drake added that a lot of people don’t come to participate in the parade in its present form, because it is so long. “There’s a lot of older people in the parade.”
Krause said this has been talked about for years. “I think its something we really need to take a look at and consider, because the traffic becomes chaos trying to switch it from one to the other…”
The mayor, Kevin Hawk, said this would make sense, and discussing it with the Safety Committee. Council President Ann Monaghan suggested having the discussion after the 4th of July.