Saturday’s annual Veterans Parade went smoothly with several hundred people participating, with the Fort Hood Mounted Drill Team in full Civil War era uniforms and weaponry leading the parade.
Among other groups and individual participants were Stephenville Mayor Kenny Weldon, Erath County Girl Scouts, The Study Club, veterans on motorcycles, folks in antique cars and trucks and the “Six White Horses” mounted flag team from Harden-Simmons University in Abilene.
The event was hosted by local veterans Disabled American Veterans Chapter 234 and Turnbow-Higgs American Legion Post 240.
Post 240 member LeRoy “Candy Man” Griffin served as the grand marshal and was driven by post commander Burton Smith in his classy ’98 Porsche Boxter convertible.
Griffin served in World War II, having volunteered for the Army in 1945. He was sent to France as a member of a demolition team, and as he explained: “We moved old tanks, defused bombs, just generally cleaned up what was left over from the war that might explode. We didn’t get in on the fighting but our work was pretty dangerous. I got out of the army in 1949.”
Griffin comes by the nickname, “Candy Man” honestly; he’s famous around Stephenville for handing out small pieces of candy where ever he goes, always with a smile or laugh.
Burton was a career officer in the Navy, and commander of Navy Seal Team Four. He will be featured in an article in the E-T later this week in honor of his long service and to help commemorate Veterans Day, which is Friday, Nov. 11.
Following the parade, veterans were admitted to the Tarleton State Football game free and were honored in the stands and in ceremonies on the field.