Dubois to lead Lincoln's Memorial Day Parade

Dubois to lead Lincoln's Memorial Day Parade

Event dedicated to late tree warden

LINCOLN - Kevin Dubois grew up paying tribute to veterans as he watched the Memorial Day Parade proceed down Smithfield Avenue year after year.

This year, he will be a part of the action as the parade's grand marshal.

The Memorial Day Parade, put on rain or shine by the town and American Legion Post 33, starts on Monday, May 27, at 11 a.m. and roads will be closed at 10 a.m. The route has been permanently changed to bypass the former Senior Center on Chapel Street, which is currently for sale.

The six-division parade starts at the intersection of Smithfield Avenue and Reservoir Avenue, continues a mile down Smithfield Avenue to Walker Street, and then ends on Industrial Circle.

This year's theme is "Freedom: Then, Now and Forever."

Dubois was 24 years old when he was caught in the explosion of an IED while on deployment in Afghanistan in 2011 and lost both his legs above the knees. He had run in to help a fellow Marine who was also hit by an IED.

While he was back stateside recovering from surgeries that cost him both of his legs, he received the Purple Heart and he was promoted to corporal.

Rather than sitting on the back of a convertible, Dubois will drive himself through the parade route in a Ford F150 truck, modified with hand controls and provided to him through military grants.

"It's definitely going to be exciting. It'll be humbling to see all the support," Dubois said. "I'm thankful for everyone's support in Lincoln. I'm very honored."

Dave Sale, the town's recycling manager, said naming Dubois the grand marshal was a unanimous decision by the parade committee.

"We're very excited about him," Sale said. "He's very energetic, I understand."

Dubois has certainly kept busy since leaving the Marines. He lived for a year in San Diego with his wife, Kayla, before returning home to Lincoln. The couple will soon move to Burrillville, where Homes for Troops will build the couple a home, free of charge, that is completely wheelchair accessible. Among the local contributors to the project is Village Paint and Decorating in North Smithfield.

After working with prosthetics for more than a year, Dubois said he ultimately prefers using a wheelchair to get around as it provides him with more independence. He can get in and out of his truck - wheelchair in tow - without help, he said.

He has also completed three marathons since coming home from Afghanistan. Using a hand cycle, he has completed races in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Boston.

"I've always wanted to run one," he said, "so it's nice I can ride it."

He finished the Boston Marathon last month in 1 hour, 45 minutes, and was already in the car and a few minutes away from Lincoln when the bombs exploded at the finish line.

Sale said Dubois exemplifies the parade's theme, which was chosen from several options provided by Michael Allen's Lincoln High School history class.

Students came up with a few great themes, Sale said, so the committee is holding onto the rest to use in future parades.

The William Hoboken Award will be given to the parade float that best represents the theme.

Sale said the late Robert Heaton, the town's former tree warden who died this year, will also be honored at the parade. Heaton was an Army veteran and a member of American Legion Post 33.

"Memorial Day will be Bob Heaton Day" in town, Sale said. "There will be a special dedication this year to a beloved employee of the town who passed away."

Along with the annual wreath-laying ceremony at 10 a.m. to honor veterans at Dow's Square in front of the Saylesville Fire Department, a proclamation will be read to dedicate the parade in memory of Heaton.

Just before Dow's Square is the corner of Walker Street and Industrial Circle, where the parade will come to an end in front of a reviewing stand. Bands will perform a concert and Twin River Casino will provide free food and drinks. The event is alcohol-free.

A raffle will be held following the parade.

Prizes include a three-month membership to MacColl Field YMCA, movie tickets, a dorm refrigerator, gift certificates to area restaurants and businesses, jewelry and gift baskets.

Tickets, which cost $1 each or $5 for a book, can be purchased at the following locations:

* Town Hall Clerk's Office and Credit Union, 100 Old River Road;

* Larry's Lincoln Auto Repair, 420 Great Road;

* Ted's Paint, 194 Front St.;

* Shanna's Country Kitchen, 1515 Old Louisquisset Pike;

* Cafe Sowa, 893 Smithfield Ave.;

* Lincoln Senior Center, 150 Jenckes Hill Road.

A bucket brigade will also be on the parade route collecting money to fund the annual celebration.

The goal is not to make the parade larger each year, Sale said, but rather to sustain it.

"Bigger is not always better," he said, "but we try to make it better."