Grand marshals announced for Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade
by Jennifer Khedaroo
May 10, 2017 | 5413 views | 0 0 comments | 122 122 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Organizers of the Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade have announced this year’s grand marshals will be Major Michael Dunne and Michael Perlman.

Dunne expressed his shock when Tom Long, commander of the American Legion, told him that he had been selected. For him it’s a humbling experience, although he views it as a tribute to something much greater.

“This is not about me, this is not about any of us who are living right now,” Dunne said. “This whole thing is about the guys and gals who served overseas and didn’t come back alive.”

The parade will take place on Sunday, May 28, at noon. It begins at Metropolitan and Ascan avenues and marches down Metropolitan Avenue to Remsen Memorial Park at Trotting Course Lane.

“It’s also for the firefighters and police officers who went to work and didn’t come back,” Dunne added. “It’s not about us, it’s about those people that are buried.”

Dunne graduated from Resurrection-Ascension School in Rego Park and Xavier High School and its Army Junior ROTC program. While attending St. John's University, he completed the Army Senior ROTC program and received his officer's commission in 1987.

He graduated from the Army’s Engineer Officer Basic Course, the Medical Officer Advanced Course, the Combined Arms Services and Staff School, and was a 2003 honor graduate of the Medical Logistics Officer Course.

Dunne has held various positions in the New York Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. He was the commanding officer of the HHD 244th Medical Group in Brooklyn, 247th Medical Company in Manhattan, and HHC 8th Medical Brigade in Brooklyn.

On several occasions, Dunne and his teams were able to help the city’s first responders in dire situations. During the January 1996 blizzard, his ambulance company worked side-by-side with FDNY by using its Humvee ambulances to get through snow-covered roads.

On September 11, he and many of his Army Reserve colleagues staffed an emergency operations center at Fort Hamilton to coordinate and provide support for the various city, state, and federal agencies working at the World Trade Center.

From May 2005 to May 2006, Dunne was mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and served with Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix in Afghanistan as an embedded trainer/advisor to the Afghan National Army.

In his civilian healthcare career, Dunne worked at Beth Israel Medical Center and at the headquarters of the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation. Last year, Dunne became a member of the Forest Hills/Rego Park Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Meanwhile, Perlman, a fifth-generation Forest Hills resident volunteers his services at a community level to preserve and enhance his community, as well as preserve its local history.

In his book, “Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park,” Perlman recognizes the accomplishments of 200 Forest Hills and Rego Park notables, everyone from celebrities to unsung heroes of the area.

“I’m proud to be an American and I’m truly inspired and grateful to be presented with the honor of grand marshal,” he said. “I’m looking forward to marching in the name of our veterans who have dedicated their lives to defend our country and exhibit our American spirit at its finest.”

Perlman is inspired by past grand marshal Joseph DeVoy, who passed away in 2000, DeVoy was a community activist, who also co-founded the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps in 1971.

Perlman himself founded the Rego-Forest Preservation Council in 2006, on the 100th anniversary of Forest Hills, to preserve and commemorate the architectural and cultural history of the neighborhood.

Perlman played a significant role in preserving the Forest Hills Stadium for creative use. For his efforts, he received the Historic Districts Council 2014 Grassroots Preservation Award.

With the help of local volunteers, he was able to secure 1,250 donated trees that were planted throughout Forest Hills. Recently, Perlman worked to have a mural dedicated to Forest Hills historical figures painted in along Ascan Avenue railroad overpass.

“I’ve been really proud to see how the community came together to contribute ideas and funds,” Perlman said.

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