By Margaret Downing


At the Rockford Daughters of the American Revolution special memorial held at dusk in May 2018 at the LZ (Landing Zone) Peace Memorial, which is located adjacent to the Rockford Museum Center/Midway Village, a number of Vietnam vets were in attendance. Front row from left are: Tony Piccirilli, Lou Gugliazza, and Tony Bove. Standing in the rear are John Muscarello, left, and Chuck Larson. ‘LZ’ locations were places where hope and medical treatment for wounded soldiers could be found. The medical helicopters used them to evacuate the injured.

At the July 12 Loves Park City Council meeting, Mayor Greg Jury presented a proclamation to Nick Parnello of Rockford…a dedicated supporter and advocate of veterans and of those who served in the war in Vietnam, declaring July 12 as “Nick Parnello Recognition Day” in the city.

As noted in the proclamation, “The City of Loves Park wishes to express its sincere appreciation to Nicholas Parnello, entrepreneur, author, inventor, pilot and Vietnam veteran Nick is best known for his dedication to all soldiers, especially from Vietnam, and in 1979 he and Joe Falzone (deceased) started the VietNow group, which has 40 chapters throughout the country. 

“In 1989, Nick started the Vietnam Veterans Home Society, which has a memorial located at Midway Village honoring soldiers killed in Vietnam. In 2015 an Agent Orange Memorial listing all those local veterans who have died as a result of exposure to Agent Orange while on duty in Vietnam.

Nick is also the founder of “Operation Fallen Flags,” which consists of about 30 buddies, which honors and keeps the American flag flying in all its glory. This shows Nick’s lifelong commitment to honor veterans so that they are not forgotten.” 

From the group’s website comes this information: “Who are the Smoke Brothers and what do they do? They are the heart of Operation Fallen Flags, they are all volunteers – and they do everything.

“The Smoke Brothers teach school kids the history of the American flag. They drive ‘The Glory Truck’ to the LZ Peace Memorial at Midway Village for veterans ceremonies. And they are the ones who maintain The Glory Truck – getting things fixed, performing all the maintenance, and doing all the washing and waxing. ‘Wax on. Wax off.’

“These guys see what needs to be done, and they do it. Nothing ever gets done by itself – someone has to do it. All the hard work, the time spent, and everything else – the Smoke Brothers are the ones who do it. A true band of brothers who get a lot done and occasionally enjoy a cigar together.”

In other business, two resolutions were approved:

*Plat 3 of Perryville Ridge” was approveded, and Plat 4 of the Business Park at Spring Creek Lakes was passed. 

*An ordinance, second reading was approved “providing for a Special Use Permit for a car wash for the property known as 6803 Forest Hills Road.”

Per the June 27 weekly police activity report, 505 calls for service were received, 141 arrests were made, and 12 accidents were responded to by officers.

On the weekly fire department report for the week of June 29, there were 51 EMS calls, and 19 fire calls responded to by the department

Anyone wishing to speak at the city council meeting shall contact the Mayor’s office by 4 p.m. the day of the council meeting at 815-654-5030.

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