Middletown Memorial Day Parade honors former firefighter, veteran and his mother

The mother of a deceased veteran and city firefighter will serve as grand marshal in the 2018 Middletown Memorial Day Parade.

“The committee based its selection on what was in our hearts after discussing the person who best represents the meaning of Memorial Day,” said Jeri Lewis, the parade committee’s chairwoman.

This year, the committee came up with 12 candidates and selected Ginger Bruggeman as the grand marshal of the parade on May 28.

Bruggeman’s late son Scott served in the Marine Corps and was a Middletown firefighter.

“By selecting Ginger, we’re honoring her son and her many years of serving the community,” Lewis said. “She has done so much for Middletown and has given and given over the years … she’s an incredible volunteer.”

Bruggeman said she was very honored to be asked to serve as parade grand marshal because of her son’s military service and work with the city.

“I’m doing it in Scott’s honor,” she said. “I’m very proud of him and what he accomplished. … I’d do anything for him and the fight he led.”

Scott Bruggeman was 45 when he died in 2016 after battling heart disease for nearly two years.

He retired in 2015 from the Middletown Division of Fire and served in the Marines during the Gulf War. Bruggeman’s memory lives on as the department’s accelerant detection canine is named “Scottie.”

His mother, who retired from the Middletown Area United Way in 2016 after 23 years, has been active as a community volunteer for a number of organizations.

More than 300 people are expected to participate in the annual parade with 30 units and four marching bands, according to Lewis.

The parade will start at 10 a.m. at Smith Park and will travel Verity Parkway to Woodside Cemetery, where the memorial service will begin at 11:30 a.m.

The keynote speaker at the Memorial Day service will be state Sen. Frank LaRose, a veteran of the 101st Airborne and a member of the Special Forces. LaRose won the Republican nomination to run for Ohio Secretary of State in Tuesday’s primary election.

Lewis said this will be the second Memorial Day celebration without the late Middletown Municipal Judge Mark Wall, one of the event’s biggest supporters.

“He’s a hard act to follow because of his passion for veterans,” she said. “He’d be proud that the parade is growing.”

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