Happenings Lifestyle

Park Road Parade Will Honor These ‘Hometown Heroes’

21st Annual Park Road Parade. West Hartford, CT. Oct. 5, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto (we-ha.com file photo)

The Park Road Parade returns to West Hartford this year and will take place on Saturday, Oct. 2.


The Park Road Parade Committee is thrilled to bring a cherished event back to the West Hartford community this Saturday, Oct. 2.

The one-hour parade steps off at 10:30 a.m. at Ringgold Street and ends at South Quaker Lane. Set up a chair anywhere along the parade route. The parade features bands, clowns, dancers, floats, dogs of all shapes and sizes, antique cars, color guards, businesses, civic and cultural organizations, and town and state officials.

The Grand Marshals for this year’s parade are a collection of “Hometown Heroes” that were nominated by the community.

“With all we’ve been through these past 18 months, we wanted to mark the parade’s return with a special salute to those who kept us safe, learning, and in business throughout the pandemic,” said Anthony Landino, parade organizer.

The Committee announced the call for nominations in July and since then received many nominations of individuals and organizations whose efforts have simply been remarkable.

“There are many more unsung heroes who quietly did things every day for the betterment of the community despite great obstacles created by COVID.  We honor them too in the spirit of 2021 parade. Congratulations to all,” said Landino.

Park Road Parade’s 2021 Hometown Heroes are:


  • Molly Tsipouras – During the pandemic, as school nurse cared for the students and families of Hall High School
  • Aimee Krauss – during COVID, as Director of Bloomfield/West Hartford Health District, organized valuable programs, including a unique one for the homebound elderly
  • Jennifer Evans – as Executive Director at West Hartford’s public television, WHCI, spent many hours beyond her normal work hours covering meetings that the public was not able to attend
  • Joseph Viola – As a teacher for West Hartford Public School Adult Education, patience with helping students get educated, to learn English
  • Rob Gottfried, a.k.a. ROB THE DRUMMER – his staff & funders made possible four weeks of interactive, virtual ZOOM Shows for Camp KO (Kingswood Oxford) and Channel 3 Kids Camp
  • Isaac Pierce – an EMT with AMR Ambulance serving West Hartford, a volunteer Firefighter worked full time during the pandemic, most of the year requiring full protective gear to do his job
  • Sue Pedersen – as Director of Communication Advocacy Network served elderly deaf and deaf and blind people who live all over Connecticut, 30 hours/week pro bono
  • Kristin Gorski – as the Economic Development Coordinator for the Town of West Hartford, ensured West Hartford’s businesses got the information they needed during these difficult times. One of the driving forces behind West Hartford’s resilience over the last 18 months
  • Deborah Zipkin – Throughout the pandemic, as Director of the Family Resource Center (FRC), organized several outdoor, socially distanced, and virtual activities to keep the community connected and provided several families with gift cards from our Emergency Family Fund
  • Kathy Palma – as Bristow’s school clerk, remained after hours to attend school functions and supported the children
  • Irene Klein – retired police officer, she was an instructor for West Hartford Police Department’s “Behind the Badge” program for college students
  • Mike Keo – founder of the #IAMNOTAVIRUS Campaign, an artist led initiative that does impactful work on inter-ethnic solidarity and interracial coalition by connecting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities through storytelling.
  • Shannon Mlodzinski, Aiken School principal
  • Rory Bryan – teaches AP English at Conard High School, inspired students to think creatively, constructively, and critically and prioritized her students’ well-being and education during a difficult year.
  • Town of West Hartford’s Executive Policy Team that guided the town through the challenges of COVID.
    • Aimee Krauss RS, MPH, West Hartford/Bloomfield Health District Director of Health
    • Mayor Shari Cantor
    • Matt Hart, Town Manager
    • Tom Moore, Superintendent, West Hartford Public Schools
    • Corporation Counsel Dallas Dodge
    • Police Chief Vernon Riddick
    • Fire Chief Greg Priest
    • Robert McCue, Deputy Director of Emergency Management
    • Renee McCue, PIO, Public Relations Specialist
    • Andy Morrow, Assistant Superintendent for Education – who not only monitored and contract-traced our district, he designed the initial school-related vaccine process used by our district when kids became eligible, a model that was ultimately used by the state.
    • Roszena Haskins, Director of Equity Advancement – During the pandemic Roszena conducted countless outreach sessions with members of our community, particularly those who are immigrants, minorities, and just families who needed a little extra help. She coordinated the lunch distributions that occurred while school was remote, laptop and WiFi card distributions, and even made home visits to families just to check in on kids. All the while, she has been a champion of equity issues, attending meetings at night and on weekends, to help more families engage with our school system, and then bringing their concerns back and advocating for changes that made West Hartford Public Schools more welcoming, understanding, and inclusive of people’s needs.
    • Carol Waxman, Acting Library Director & Children’s Services Librarian – the West Hartford Public Library stepped in at the beginning of the pandemic taking on new responsibilities and utilizing new technologies to keep the community informed and up to date regarding critical services.
    • Pramod Pradhan, West Hartford Public Library Community Engagement Librarian, Faxon Branch – For his commitment and dedication to our community – especially the patrons of the Faxon Branch Library. He is now the “flower” guy who delivers flowers to the senior center and offers flower bouquets to library patrons to make their days that much brighter.
  • West Hartford Chamber of Commerce – From Day-One of the shutdowns, the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce came up with creative ways to support their member businesses and nonprofits. With the support of the Chamber Board of Directors, the Chamber staff implemented various virtual networking opportunities and digital resources.  In partnership with the Town of West Hartford, they hosted a series Small Business Forums and created several community initiatives to inform and support the local business community.
    • Christopher Conway, Executive Director
    • Jessie Bouclier, Member Services Coordinator
    • Kate Kobs, Outreach Development Coordinator


  • Entire staff of the West Hartford Police & Fire Departments
  • Entire staff of the West Hartford Public Library
  • Entire staff of the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District
  • Entire staff of the West Hartford Public Schools, including all teachers, nurses, Nutrition Service workers, custodians and staff
  • Entire staff of the Town of West Hartford, including Information Technology, Leisure & Social Services, Plant & Facilities Services, Public Works, Finance & Purchasing, Human Resources, Community and Economic Development, Corporation Counsel, Town Clerk, Registrars of Voters, Assessment, and Town Manager’s Office
  • The Village – The Second Chance Shop on Park Road has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars every year for local children who have suffered trauma. Mental health services have been critical, especially during the pandemic. Clinicians at The Village stayed with their resident children through the pandemic, sometimes even moving in to The Village’s residential facility at 1680 Albany Ave.

West Hartford’s Business & Neighborhood Organizations

  • Elmwood Business Association
  • Park Road Association
  • Bishops Corner Neighborhood Association
  • West Hartford Center Business Association
  • West Hartford Design District

West Hartford Town Council

  • Shari Cantor, Mayor
  • Leon Davidoff, Deputy Mayor
  • Beth Kerrigan
  • Liam Sweeney
  • Ben Wenograd
  • Carol Blanks
  • Lee Gold
  • Chris Williams
  • Mary Fay

West Hartford Board of Education

  • Deb Polun, Chair
  • Lorna Thomas-Farquharson, Vice Chair
  • Ari Steinberg
  • Elizabeth Wilcox
  • Mark Zydanowicz
  • Jason Chang
  • Amanda Aronson

West Hartford Legislative Delegation

  • State Senator Derek Slap
  • State Representative Kate Farrar
  • State Representative Tammy Exum
  • State Representative Jillian Gilchrest

Come celebrate this extraordinary group!

A parade of this magnitude involves a lot of volunteers and sponsors. Without either, the parade would not be possible. A big “thank you” goes out to all of them. The 2021 sponsors are University of Saint Joseph, SynEnergy (Mr. Sparkle Car Wash, Mr. Sparkle Auto Detailing, Valvoline Instant Oil Change), Udolf Properties, Westfarms, Joey’s Pizza Pie, Molloy Funeral Home, West Hartford Police Officer’s Association, Open Arms Christian Ministry, West Hartford Travel Basketball, YHB Investment Advisors, Inc., Effie’s Place Family Restaurant, Playhouse on Park, Chick-fil-A of West Hartford, West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, NBT Bank, Coursey & Company Public Affairs Communications, GO Media Marketing & Communications Agency, Juniper Home Care, and Caps & Dampers Chimney.

Handicap parking is available at 120 Park Road. Spectator parking is located on Richard, Crosby, Gillette, and Ringgold Streets and Oakwood Avenue (south of Crosby Street). There is also ample parking on the arterial streets north of Boulevard between South Highland and South Quaker.

Public restrooms are located at Effie’s Restaurant, 91 Park Road; A.C. Petersen Restaurant, 240 Park Road; Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road; and Three Ladies Antiques, 328 Park Road.

For more information, please call Renée McCue at 860-561-7521 or Tony Landino at 860-966-4582, or visit http://www.parkroadct.com/about-the-parade.

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1 Comment

  • Well that is quite a liberal use of the word “Heroes”. While there is no doubt that some of these ppl did some good and amazing things, why no recognition for the following:

    Every healthcare worker who dealt face-to-face with those sick with COVID, especially prior to vaccinations being available.

    Grocery store and supermarket workers who remained in-store and on-duty when the pandemic was at it heights….

    Critical infrastructure workers who are not able to “work from home” like so many on that list, but actually made it possible for so many to “work from home” – those who keep the power and lights on, the internet functional, the water running to the faucets, the wastewater collected and treated, the roads and highways clear, etc….

    And with all due respect – our legislative delegation? Aren’t they the ones who delegated their responsibility to our Governor SIX times during the past ~18 months so that he could actually be the one to make decisions? I would think if there is any elected official we should be honoring it would be him….Or are they are “heroes” b.c they had to stay on Zoom a few nights actually listening to their constituents?

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