Spectators Honor Veterans In First Topeka Parade

By: Ariana Cohen Email
By: Ariana Cohen Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- Military veterans were honored Monday and one of those people who served was sergeant Jamie Jarboe. He died more than a year ago of injuries inflicted by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan.

His widow, Melissa, vowed to fulfill his dying wish to take care of soldiers and their families. When she found out Topeka did not have a Veteran's Day Parade, she made it her mission to organize one.

And Monday, the capital city's first Veteran's Day parade took to the downtown streets.

From marching bands to veterans driving old military vehicles, it was a great day to honor those who served our country.

Families, friends and veterans gathered to watch the first Topeka Veteran's Day parade.

Kansas Highway Patrol Superintendent and retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Garcia lead the parade as Grand Marshall in a World War II Jeep.

"In Topeka, there are a lot of veterans that have been forgotten, and hopefully this parade will start a rich tradition that will remember the veterans, and also celebrate, the freedoms that we have here in Topeka, our capital city," says Garcia.

"I think it's really important you know, knowing what we do, we sacrifice a lot, to do what we do, it's good to let people know that we will do it everyday no matter what," said Randy Aponte, Fort Riley soldier.

With tiny American flags in hand, the crowd cheered the Seaman, Topeka High, Highland Park High School, and Shawnee Heights marching bands.
Governor Sam Brownback also rode by on his motorcycle.

Spectators say it's a day to thank military heroes for their service to our country.

"You know they did a lot, and they served, and you know were honorable and everything so its cool," said U.S. Air Force veteran, Craig Stiche.

Monday's parade culminated a week of events by the Jamie Jarboe foundation to honor veterans.

Afterward, 5 Hour Energy's "Amazing People" campaign surprised Melissa Jarboe with a $50,000 grant to help Topeka-area veterans.

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