SPARTA, NJ – The unofficial start to summer kicked off on Monday.  In Sparta the town turned out to celebrate Memorial Day with a parade, a show by the Lake Mohawk Ski Hawks water skiing team and a barbecue at the Sparta VFW. With unusually nice weather, crowds lined the parade route, decked out in red, white and blue with flags of all sorts.

Bill Kegelmann was the Grand Marshall of the parade and Colonel Todd Liebig was the guest speaker for the Memorial Day ceremony held behind Mohawk Avenue School. In addition to the speaker Sparta organizations laid wreaths commemorating those who gave their lives in service of this country.   

The Sparta VFW introduced a new initiative called Serving Those Who Serve at their barbecue. 

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"It is for future, current and former active duty military," Sparta VFW Commander Pete Litchfield said.  The resource is web based and will have a link on the Sparta Township website as well.  

It offers a chance for prospective members of the military to speak with local veterans to find out if military service is the right path for them.  They will be able to talk about all of the branches of the military. A veteran will even accompany a prospective enlistee to meet with a recruiter to be sure all of the questions are answered and to advocate for them according to Litchfield.

Litchfield said they have already helped a recent widow of a veteran get information about the veterans' cemetery by working with her granddaughter, helping to navigate the various websites.  He said he also went to someone's home with his laptop to help guide them to the resources they were looking for.