By Danielle Anderson
Special to Historic City News
Historic City News has learned that the 35-member Florida Coastal Police and Fire Pipes and Drums have been invited to march in the 58th Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington, DC on January 20, 2017.
The idea began percolating in October when drum major Vincent Gough and fellow band member and bagpiper Patrick Juliano were discussing the election, pondering what it would be like to play at the inauguration. Little did they know that pipe major Jack Kelly had already sent in an application.
“It is a great honor to be selected to represent the State of Florida and perform in the Presidential Inauguration Parade,” Gough said. “This will be a highlight of many of our members’ musical careers.”
Having played at recent services in Nassau and Volusia County, one of which was attended by Governor Rick Scott, Flagler Sheriff-elect Rick Staly called to thank the band and asked if there was anything he could do for them. Gough jokingly asked Staly to get the governor to send a letter of support to the inaugural’s Musical Review Committee and Military Committee on Marching and Deportment. Shortly thereafter, they were notified by Scott’s office that they would indeed receive his endorsement.
“Now we started to get excited,” Gough said. “We passed all the initial cuts, now the governor’s endorsement, we just might get this thing.”
On Friday, they received a call from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
“We were at the Palm Coast Elks Lodge planning our St. Patrick’s Day schedule,” said Gough, who also is exalted ruler of the local Elks Lodge. “I don’t know who was more excited, the band members or the folks at the Elks that heard the great news along with us.”
Reality soon set in. There is no funding for the trip, which could cost as much as $60,000, according to Gough. They think it can be done for half that and started a GoFundMe campaign that has raised nearly $4,000 so far to help with the expenses, which include travel, lodging and warm uniforms.
Determined to participate in the chance of a lifetime, members of the band comprised of local police, fire, EMS, corrections officers and veterans, are asking for the community’s help.
“Every donation counts. We are very excited for such an historic occasion,” said Juliano. “We proudly carry the weight of representing our community and state on the national stage, in front of the President and Vice President of the United States.”
For information on donating, visit http://gofundme.com/presidential-inaugural-parade