Hilliard's Veterans Day parade will step off at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, from the Franklin County Fairgrounds' Main Street gate and conclude at the Veterans Memorial at Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park, 3800 Veterans Memorial Drive.

Retired Maj. Gen. Deborah Ashenhurst, the first woman to serve as adjutant general of the Ohio National Guard when she was appointed to the post in 2010, is the parade's grand marshal.

"I am quite honored to lead our Veterans Day parade," she said.

Ashenhurst retired in 2015, capping a 37-year career in the U.S. Army after enlisting in the Ohio National Guard in 1978, one year after graduating from Columbus' North High School in Clintonville.

She resides in Hilliard with her husband, Jim, a retired army colonel and a former member of Hilliard City Council.

After retiring from the Ohio National Guard, she became senior vice president of military strategy for R2 Associates and is a commissioner on the Ohio Military Facilities Commission.

"But my favorite job is grandmother," said Ashenhurst, who has two granddaughters living in Hilliard.

Hilliard's Veterans Day parade will proceed from the fairgrounds, southwest on Main Street to Scioto Darby Road and west on Scioto Darby Road to Veterans Memorial Drive.

A brief ceremony will be held at the memorial in the park, said Tom Rowe, commander of American Legion Memorial Post 614.

Post 614 will present the parade with American Legion Post 144 from South High Street in Columbus and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4931 in Hilliard.

Supporting units and organizations expected to participate include Westland High School's ROTC, Hilliard Davidson High School's marching band, a walking group from Hilliard Bradley High School, Hilliard Darby High School's Synergy Club, the Hilliard Division of Police Honor Guard, Patriot Pin Ups, the Blue Star Mothers, the local chapter of U.S. Submarine Veterans, Honor Flight Columbus and the local chapter of Buckeye Military Moms.

The latter organization will accept donations along the parade route of hygienic items and nonperishable goods to be placed in care packages and shipped to military personnel serving overseas.

Following the parade, a free community ham-and-bean-soup dinner will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hilliard United Methodist Church, 5445 Scioto Darby Road.

Hilliard is one of a handful of central Ohio communities to organize a parade on Veterans Day each year. It has done so since 1984 when then-mayor Roger Reynolds offered to allow the American Legion's 12th District to march in Hilliard without the requirement of a permit.

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