The 6th annual Huntington Awareness Day parade will feature longtime commander of the 2nd Precinct as its grand marshal, and will also honor a number of community members from across Huntington Town.
Inspector Edward Brady, who retired earlier this year at the helm of the 2nd Precinct, which serves Huntington, will lead the festivities as the parade’s grand marshal on Saturday, Sept. 12, according to a town statement. Honors will also be bestowed on a police officer wounded in the line of duty, a 101-year-old wartime aircraft worker, a volunteer VA chaplain and two families with longtime contributions to the community.
Those honorees include Suffolk County Police Officer Mark Collins, a 12-year veteran of the force who was shot in the neck and hip in March while chasing a suspected gang member who had fled after a traffic stop in Huntington Station; Sophie Sarro, a 101-year-old Huntington Station native who while trained as a seamstress worked during World War II helping to manufacture airplanes for Grumman Aircraft; and Frank LaBarbara, a Korean War veteran and retired owner of an engineering-manufacturing company who has volunteered for many years as a Eucharistic minister at the Northport VA Medical Center.
Also to be honored are the Harris and Sorrentino families. The Harris patriarch, Rufus Harris, is an accomplished mechanic who overcame segregation in South Carolina, moved to Huntington and founded an automobile repair shop, Rufus & Sons, which was one of the first African-American owned businesses in Huntington. The shop included two generations of the Harris family and was in business for 40 years.
The Sorrentino family has been fixtures on the Huntington business scene for many years. Andrea Sorrentino has operated a shoe repair shop in Huntington village for 35 years and his sons, Pasquale and Andre, own an auto body shop. The have been active in civic and charitable affairs, as well as in the Huntington Fire Department, where Andre Sorrentino is a commissioner. For each of the past five Thanksgivings, the family has given away 300 turkeys to needy families.
Bands, floats, vintage cars, service groups and local merchants will join the march down New York Avenue through Huntington Station from West Hills Road to the municipal parking lot between Railroad and Church streets. The parking lot will also be the location of the annual Awareness Day fair, which will include performances by local artists and booths offering crafts and services. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. and the fair will remain open until 5 p.m.
“We hope that people will come to the parade and stay for the festival, which thanks to the generosity of our sponsors remains a great day of entertainment, free activities for children and a chance to learn about the many organizations offering services to help the community,” said parade founder Dolores Thompson.