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Local Vet To Lead Parade Of Heroes

Having a shaven head was a requirement for Charles Susczynski, Jr., of Floral Park, who entered into Army boot camp less than four years ago. Susczynski, who returned home in December, will now participate in shaving his head to help benefit children with cancer. And leading the Annual Parade of Heroes this year, a proud tradition that now kicks off the St. Baldrick's event on Saturday, April 5, will be returning Army Specialist Charles Susczynski, Jr.

The parade tradition began in 2009 when Aiden Binkley rode to Trinity Restaurant in a Floral Park fire truck to kick off the St. Baldrick's event with the fire department. The parade and St. Baldrick's events continue to grow each year, in the memory of Binkley, who passed away in 2010 from a rare form of pediatric cancer.

Susczynski arrived back at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma, WA, in July 2013, after being assigned to Afghanistan with 2nd Infantry, Division 4. He served as an Army combat engineer, clearing Afghani roadways of IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

Although Susczynski received a welcome celebration in July 2013 when he arrived in Washington with his Army unit, his family was unable to attend for the welcome home celebration with the soldiers and their families. Being able to participating in his hometown Parade of Heroes means a lot to Susczynski and his family, especially to his parents, Charles Sr. and Catherine.

Susczynski, a graduate of Floral Park Memorial High School, told the Floral Park Dispatch, "After high school, I wanted to do something for my country; serving in the Army is a legacy in my family." He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Joseph McGarry, who served in WWII, also as an Army combat engineer. "He is the reason that I wanted to be an engineer."

Both Susczynski and his father, Charles Sr., will participate in the St. Baldrick's event, signing on to become shavees.

Last year, the St. Baldrick’s event at Trinity had an outstanding number of 238 shavees that raised over $251,000, which made the Floral Park event number 11 out of 3,000 worldwide shaving events.

The Parade of Heroes will assemble at Carnation and Verbena avenues at 1 p.m. The parade will step off, being led by Sword of Light Pipe Band, at 1:30 p.m., traveling down Verbena Ave., making a right on Tulip Ave., a left on Plainfield Ave., right on Woodbine Ct. and continuing onto South Tyson Ave. and finally a right onto Spooner St. The Floral Park St. Baldrick event will at Trinity Restaurant, 190 Jericho Tpke., from 2 to 9 p.m.

Visit www.stbaldricks.org to become a shavee, to volunteer, or to donate. For information call Bob GaNun at 917-921-3639.