Nancy Intagliata, president of the Forest Hills Kiwanis Club, helped generate nearly $8,000 in donations over the last several months and brought together the veterans, marching bands and entertainment to help make this year’s celebration possible.
“I’m so proud of it this year to see the community surround our veterans,” said Intagliata, Forest Hills TD Bank store manager. “They were out there fighting for our freedom and our safety.”
The Kiwanis began raising funds for the parade in May of last year, and Intagliata said that the planning helped make this year the success that it was.
“The amount of money that came in just says a lot about the community,” she said.
TD Queens regional office gave a total of $2,500 to the parade this year and $5,000 last year.
Randy Estrada of TD Bank said this year’s parade was in jeopardy of falling short on funding.
“This was a perfect opportunity for us to show the community our support,” Estrada said. “Anytime we can put our own sweat and equity into this kind of event, with numerous employees working the event on the route, it’s just part of what we do to give back.”
Among the supporters was James Van Westering, a local resident and advocate for the Metropolitan Avenue Business Improvement District.
“I think it’s a signature event for Forest Hills,” he said. “It’s important for the community, it’s a wonderful community event and it pays tribute to the veterans who fought for our country.”
Joan Weston, owner of Weston Bros. at 99-16 Metropolitan Avenue, remembers the parade from the early 80’s back when her company used to give out hats to the veterans and kids as they passed by the store.
“It’s really just about building community for us,” she said. “We’re a mom-and-pop operation, and a lot of the customers are from the neighborhood and community.”
Weston Bros. has been on the block since 1956 and today sells and installs air conditioners and gas fireplaces throughout Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
“We do other things like contributing to the little league and I’m a member of the 112th Precinct community council,” she added.
Mike Giordano, owner of Royal Collectables at 96-01 Metropolitan Ave., has been selling comic books, toys, sports memorabilia and other relics at his location for the last 10 years and in the community for 20.
“It’s just a good thing for the neighborhood,” he said of the parade. “It is participation with the neighborhood, and it’s a bonding for the neighborhood, residents and businesses to get together at least once a year.”
Marla Cornejo, owner of 5 Borro Café at 72-05 Austin St., has been in the neighborhood since 1989.
“We’ve been a part of the community for a long time, and I think it’s important to set the right example,” Cornejo said of her donation to the parade. “It’s Memorial Day, which is an important day that should be recognized.”
Others who donated to the parade this year included the YMS Management Associates, Blackwater Pub, Barbara and Richard Stuchinski, La Vigna Inc., Heads Up Fire Sprinkler, Inc., Metro Candy, Karl’s Plumbing and Heating Co., J & B Wallpaper and Paint, Sizzler, Maspeth Federal Savings, Serf and Constance Maltese and the Continental Post #1424.