Buda VFW readies for inaugural Veterans Day parade

Buda’s inaugural Veterans Day parade Saturday, Nov. 10 at 9 a.m.  Main Street in Buda
Silent auction will follow at Buck’s Backyard.

A labor of love, respect and honor will soon come to fruition for David Condel and the 50-plus members of the Buda VFW Post 12161.

On Saturday, Buda’s VFW, which is only in its second year of existence, will hold the city’s inaugural Veterans Day parade, which will wind through Main Street in the downtown sector. The event is one of the first of its kind outside of San Marcos.

For Condel, who is the Buda VFW Post Commander, all of the hard work put in by members of the post goes to their larger goal of promoting and celebrating all veterans in the area.
“We wanted to do this because Buda has never had one in its history,” Condel said. “That’s what we’re here for, to promote veterans and to help veterans with projects and to celebrate Veterans Day.”

The idea of having a parade began roughly a year ago, Condel said. The vision was originally the brainchild and dream of former Post Commander Bob Holcomb, who helped to get the project off of the ground.

For members of the VFW, offering a local event allows veterans to avoid having to travel to Austin or San Antonio, which have held their own parades for several years.

The VFW gained the help of the Buda Area Chamber of Commerce, which sought to provide a leg up in meeting with city and state officials for the parade. However, the timing of getting the parade together “fell through the cracks,” pushing back the parade to 2018, said JR Gonzales, Buda Chamber Managing Director.

Despite the setback, Condel said the VFW took its time and was able to secure the necessary permits needed to hold the parade. That process, which took approximately three months, involved talking with Buda and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials to close parts of Main Street for the parade.

Per Texas law, state highways, such as Main Street and FM 967, require a permit if they are to be shut down for more than an hour’s time. Condel, who did most of the groundwork for the parade, said he also turned to his wife for help in setting up the event.

His wife, a former chamber of commerce executive, offered support and guidance in getting the parade off of the ground, Condel said.

The extra time also allowed the Chamber and VFW to fundraise to hold the event as well. Gonzales said the Chamber and VFW exceeded their goal of fundraising $3,000 for the parade, which will go toward operational costs, such as grandstands and hiring off-duty police officers for security. The Chamber also contributed the necessary flags and belts to establish a color guard to march in the parade.

Condel said three color guards will participate in the parade, along with members of both the Buda and Kyle VFW organizations and the Kyle Chamber of the American Veterans (AMVETS).

By holding the parade, Gonzales said Buda has become a leader in the area when it comes to honoring its veterans. He said all are welcome to join and participate, but he also believes it could spur other communities to start Veterans Day parades as well.

In addition, Buda’s parade will add to the “small-town feel” city leaders are trying to maintain, Gonzales said.

“Having an active VFW in our parade adds to the overall feel of Buda, the small-town feel,” Gonzales said. “That is small-town USA, and it allows people from south Austin and other areas to come to the parade, instead of going to larger cities.”

Seeing hours of hard work pay off will be what Condel looks forward to. It’s all done to follow in Flocke’s footsteps and to give local veterans a parade to be proud of.

“It’s great. I think I’ve had a good response from everyone,” Condel said. “It’s a lot of hard work to put on a parade like this.”

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