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Branford Scouts who traditionally have marched in the town's annual Memorial Day Parade (shown here in 2014) will instead be packing vehicles for a Memorial Day Car Parade on May 25 organized by a local Eagle Scout, Joseph Loffredo. (Photo by Bill O'Brien )
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With plans for the town's annual Memorial Day parade canceled by COVID-19, a Branford Boy Scout is rallying the troops to help honor Branford's military residents at a safe social distance, with a Memorial Day Car Parade route that will travel through town beginning at 9 a.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25.
Branford Eagle Scout Joseph Loffredo, 17, originated the idea for a Memorial Day Car Parade and contacted Branford Representative Town Meeting (RTM) majority leader Ray Ingraham (R, District 5) to seek help with the plan. Ingraham is also helping Loffredo contact local media to spread the word so that as many military members of the community as possible will be alerted to the parade in advance, so they can catch it passing by their area on Memorial Day.
As Ingraham and Loffredo shared in a joint notice issued May 19, "Working with police, fire and town officials, a car parade will follow a route throughout town, meant to garner exposure for the solemn holiday and honor those who have fallen defending the country."
Loffredo said he thought of the idea shortly after he learned from his dad that this year's traditional Memorial Day Parade had been canceled. Like hundreds of kids in town, Loffredo has marched with scouting groups in the parade for most of his life. His first Memorial Day Parade march in Branford was as a Tiger Scout, and he's marched in every parade since, he said.
Originally, Loffredo tried to contact military members in the community to map out a car parade route past their homes; but when that proved too difficult, he opted instead try to reach as many areas of town as possible with the parade, and to work to notify veterans of the route it will take on Memorial Day to honor them.
"Hopefully, they'll come on out and see it. It's really about honoring our veterans," said Loffredo.
The parade is expected to complete the route in about an hour and a half. It will leave from BHS at 9 a.m., head left down East Main Street, turn right onto Ivy street and merge onto Bushy Plain Road. Next, the route will take a left onto Todd's Hill Road, then left onto Cherry Hill Road before turning left onto Main Street. The vehicles will turn right onto Kirkham Street; merge onto Maple Street; turn left onto Route 142; left onto Stannard Avenue; left onto Harbor Street, right onto Maple Street and then on to Indian Neck Road, where the parade will merge onto Route 146; staying on Route 146 to Damascus Road, then follow Damascus Road to Pine Orchard Road; turn right onto Montowese Street, then right onto Main Street and from there return to BHS.
Loffredo, a member of Troop 633 (North Branford) said he anticipates his troop and pack, and just about every boys' and girls' troop in Branford to have representatives in vehicles in the parade, adding up to dozens of decorated vehicles. The parade will be a led by a Branford Police escort to help navigate intersections, and a rear guard with Branford Fire Department apparatus.
Loffredo's also encouraging others from the community, from residents to businesses, to decorate a vehicle to come out and join the Memorial Day Car Parade which will be forming up at Branford High School (BHS), 185 East Main St., at 8:30 a.m. sharp on Monday, May 25. Participants will follow social distancing rules for COVID-19 which will include having all participants remain in their vehicles at all times.