|June 11, 2020
Phoenix, AZ–Tackling the issue of presenting the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade is front and center for Honoring America’s Veterans (HAV) new Executive Director, Paula Pedene.
“Our first order of business is determining how to present the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on Veterans Day in November,” Pedene says. “With COVID-19, it likely means changing the event from in-person to something we host online or on television.”
To determine the way forward, Pedene, the former parade coordinator, is leading the discussion with several officials, including Phoenix Mayor Kate ‘Gallego’s office, City of Phoenix Police, the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, and others.
“This discussion may seem early, but a large-scale special event like this takes extensive pre-planning,” says Pedene.
Pedene, and the HAV Board of Directors, are discussing options on how to transition the Parade, involving approximately 3000 participants and 40,000 attendees, to a virtual event to comply with public safety guidelines.
“We’re pretty certain we need to move the Parade to a virtual event for the safety of our veterans and our spectators,” says HAV President Brian Ishmael. “We’re considering a television show or streaming event to include interviews with the seven Veteran Grand Marshals. It could also mean having the High School Essay winners read their winning entries online.”
Ishmael adds the board is pleased to have Pedene, a recent Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) retiree, continue her advocacy on behalf of our nation’s veterans as the first Executive Director of HAV. He believes her transition, from a Senior Communication Specialist at VA national headquarters, to the role of a nonprofit leader, brings strength to their organization.
“Whether it is grappling with solutions to honoring veterans virtually, moving past the pandemic, or ensuring our veterans continue to get the care and service they deserve, Paula’s history of ethical conduct is critical to moving us forward,” said Ishmael.
The HAV board is looking to make a final decision about the Parade in June.
Paula Pedene was one of the first whistleblowers at the Phoenix VA, and her disclosures led to several crucial changes at the agency. She now uses her whistleblower experience to highlight and educate people about the importance of ethics advocacy.
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Media, please note: You can find images of previous Parade’s online at https://havparade.smugmug.com/The-Phoenix-Veterans-Day-Parad