Louisville, KY. – The Kentucky Derby Festival announced the Grand Marshals and Honorary Grand Marshals for the 2011 Republic Bank Pegasus Parade at a press conference Friday morning at the Festival’s headquarters.
Click here to see photos of the Grand Marshals and photos from 2010 Pegasus Parade!
Four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients will serve as Grand Marshals of the parade on Thursday, May 5. The Grand Marshals are: World War II veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams of West Virginia; Korean War veteran Ernie West of Russell, Ky.; Vietnam War veteran Gary Littrell of Henderson, Ky; and Vietnam War veteran Don Jenkins of Quality, Ky. The members of Bellarmine University’s NCAA Division II men’s national champion basketball team will serve as Honorary Grand Marshals of the Pegasus Parade.
The theme for this year’s parade is “Heroic Adventures” and ties in to the overall theme for the 2011 Kentucky Derby Festival – “SuperFest” – which celebrates TV, movie and comic book Superheroes, as well as heroic individuals from our own community.
“We’re tremendously honored to have these four American heroes serve as Grand Marshals of this year’s Republic Bank Pegasus Parade,” said Mike Berry, President and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival. “The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest honor presented by the U.S. military and most were presented posthumously. The Medal of Honor is bestowed upon an individual by the passing of a Joint Resolution in the Congress. Our four Grand Marshals have gone well above and beyond the call of duty in serving their country and we couldn’t be more humbled to have them appear in the Pegasus Parade.”
The men’s appearance in the parade is a prequel to the annual 2011 Louisville Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention from September 28th through October 2nd. During that time, Louisville will welcome all 85 living Medal of Honor Recipients. The event marks the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Medal of Honor in 1861 by President Abraham Lincoln.
The Bellarmine University NCAA Division II men’s national champion basketball team finished with a 33-2 record, and went 17-1 in their conference. This is the first national championship for Bellarmine University in any sport.
“It’s a tremendous honor for Bellarmine’s basketball team to be a part of one of the greatest spectacles in all of sport—the Kentucky Derby Festival.” Said Coach Davenport. “Participating in the Pegasus Parade will be a humbling experience and at the same time an outstanding opportunity to thank people throughout Louisville and Southern Indiana for their great support during and after our national championship run.” (Coach Davenport was unable to attend the press conference because he is in Houston to accept the NCAA Div. II National Coach of the Year Award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Assistant Coach Drew Cooper, Senior Forrest Smallwood, Senior Justin Benedetti, Freshman Hayden Simon and Sophomore Ritchie Phares attended to accept the honor.)
Click here to see photos of the Grand Marshals and from the 2010 Pegasus Parade