For years at the annual Memorial Day ceremony, VFW Post 328 commander Patrick Nowlin solemnly read the names of the Stoughton area veterans who died during the previous year

This year, Nowlin’s name will be among those read aloud at the Mandt Center.

The longtime commander died Oct. 9 last year after he was struck by a car while crossing the street to attend an American Legion meeting. It was the group’s last meeting before the dedication of the Stoughton Area Veterans Memorial Park – a project Nowlin, 69, had devoted significant time and money toward, but would not live to see.

This year’s ceremonies are dedicated to Nowlin, who was admired by fellow veterans as a rare individual who led by example and who never allowed his fortunes in life to compromise his character. Steve Grady will be the speaker, and Vic Duesel will serve as the master of ceremonies. Things get started with the parade at 10 a.m., starting at South Prairie and West Main streets and follow with ceremonies at the Mandt Center at 11.

After the Memorial Day ceremonies at the Mandt Center, people are invited to VFW Post 328 (200 Veterans Road) for a coffee and doughnut reception and cookout, sponsored by American Legion Post 59 and VFW Post 328 auxiliaries.

This year’s parade

The parade begins at 10 a.m. at South Prairie and West Main streets and ends at the Mandt Center, featuring everything from “Elvis the Horse” to Purple Heart recipients. Parade marshals are Sonny Swangstu and Scott Richmond.

The Stoughton High School and River Bluff marching bands will participate, along with personnel and equipment from Stoughton police, fire and EMS departments and Mayor Tim Swadley. The parade will also feature area Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts and area veterans on floats.

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