Group raises enough money to hold nation's first Iraq war veteran parade in St. Louis

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by Mark Schnyder

KMOV.com

Posted on January 13, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 16 at 6:33 PM

(KMOV Reporter's Blog) -- A group wanting to hold the first 'welcome home' parade for Iraq veterans have raised enough money to hold the parade in St. Louis.

Earlier post:

When I first saw an emailed news release about a fund raising effort to have a parade for returning Iraq War vets in St. Louis on January 28th, I thought, how nice.  But as I read on, I got a bit suspicious.

The parade would be downtown on Saturday, January 28th but a grassroots group on Facebook called, "Make January 28th Welcome Home the Heroes from Iraq Day" said it needed $25,000 by midnight on January 14th and raised it on time.

I checked some of their claims and they turned out to be accurate... like Anheuser Busch donating $10,000 to the effort.

Craig Schneider and some friends were sitting around having dinner on December 28th talking and it over and decided to try to do this 30 days later.

"Why don't we be the first ones to go out and say we can put this thing together and not only that, we can put it together quickly rather than let it stretch out and be some long down-the-road thing.  We wanted something to happen now," Schneider told me.

He explained a well-known veteran's charity he's not at liberty to name publicly yet, will help with the effort once the $25,000 in pledges are secured.

I told Schneider this whole thing sounds a bit complicated.  He told me he understood completely and went on to say, "We're not professional fundraisers. We're as unprofessional as you can be when it comes to trying to throw a parade so we're trying to catch up to the curve as we go but the groundswell of people that have pulled together to make this happen make us believe that it really will happen."

If you're interested in making a pledge you can email iraqwelcomehome@gmail.com.  There's also a pledge form HERE with details on where to fax it.

Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV.

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