The King’s County Memorial Day Parade – the nation’s longest-running Memorial Day procession – has encompassed the streets of Bay Ridge for more than 20 years and, for its 148th year in action, its kingpins have tapped Bay Ridge bigwig Howard Dunn as grand marshal.
“The guy has been a stalwart of the community,” said the parade’s Executive Director Raymond Aalbue of the retired naval veteran and local luminary. “He’s a World War II vet – everyone knows who he is. He’s fully deserving of getting the recognition that a grand marshal gets.”
Dunn, an active player in the King’s County parade since the 1940s, was active in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946, and was the county commander of the American Legion in 1968.
On the other side of the service aisle, Dunn has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America since 1939 (when he joined Troop 321 at St. John’s Evangelist Church). There, he worked his way up to scoutmaster and then neighborhood commissioner, eventually becoming assistant district commissioner of the Atlantic District with responsibility for 20 troops and packs.
From there, Dunn was asked to join the Executive Board of Directors for the Boy Scouts of America, on which he remains active today.
Dunn was introduced to the Wounded Warrior Project through his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America, and helped raise more than $28,000 between 2009 and 2012. His participation with the national organization continues today, as he works with Walter Reed Hospital on numerous clothing drives and also volunteers his time conducting tours of New York City for soldiers and their families who come into the NY and NJ areas.
Locally, Dunn has done his due diligence to ensure that American flags fly high over the neighborhood’s numerous commercial strips while also serving as a longtime member of the Bay Ridge Community Council, the Bay Ridge AARP and more.
“He’s done so much for so many veterans and for so many people in the community,” said Aalbue. “We should have had him as the grand marshal years ago.”
Dunn, 88, has spent the last 68 years married to the love of his life, May. Together, they have had two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The deputy grand marshal, Aalbue said, will be Korean War Veteran Donald Feldman, a local hero who has volunteered at the Ridge’s U.S. Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center for a number of years, helping fellow veterans get through today’s paperwork.
The reviewing officer, he said, will be announced shortly.
Dunn, who announced his acceptance on Sunday, February 22 at the nabe’s Academy Awards Night, told friends and family that, while he was thrilled to accept the “outstanding” honor, he never saw it coming.
“There are a lot of other people who deserve it,” Dunn told this paper, “but I’m very excited they chose me.”