MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The parade will go on! That's the big news coming from the 51st Annual Milwaukee Veterans Day Parade. The parade ends at the War Memorial on Thursday, August 28th.
After sponsors backed out a few weeks ago, there was concern the largest parade of its kind in the state wouldn't continue.
Mary Ann D'Acquisto is the parade organizer. A few weeks ago she was in a panic because two corporate sponsors backed out at the last minute, leaving a twenty thousand dollar gap in finances to make the parade, and day of honor a reality.
"A huge sigh of relief knowing that is off our shoulders and we can focus on our event. I mean, we were really concerned, but we've always done this one dollar at a time -- we just have to keep plugging away," said D'Acquisto.
With the November 8th event quickly approaching, D'Acquisto set up a GoFundMe site generating $2,500 from concerned citizens. Many of them veterans themselves. But it wasn't enough, two weeks ago FOX6 News ran a story profiling the groups financial woes. It turns out, someone was inspired after they saw the report.
"Since you did the story, there has been a whirlwind of people contacting us to support the event in one way or another," said D'Acquisto.
Including a whopping $20,000 donation from an unlikely source.
A local worker with Transcanada, an energy provider to companies like WE Energies, saw the story and brought the issues straight to Transcanada's corporate office in Calgary. Within days, Transcanada was set to write a check that covers two-thirds of the parades annual budget.
"An employee saw your news coverage. We decided it would be a great idea to jump in and provide support!" said
A company spokesperson says Transcanada supports a number of veterans programs in North America, and often recruits vets as employees.
"That to me is a very cool thing. To see that there are people outside of the U.S. who feel it`s important to support veterans," said D'Acquisto.
It's also helping to make the parade more financially stable for next year, and beyond.
"To all the sudden now have -- oh my god -- we're almost good for two years," said D'Acquisto.
D'Acquisto is promising a little something extra for the vets who participate this year. She won't say what that will be, but guarantees it will be extra special because of these funds.
About 1,500 vets march in the parade each year.
If you’d like to make a donation to ensure the parade isn't put in a financial bind in the future, CLICK HERE to access the parade's GoFundMe.com page.
For even more information on the parade and its organization, visit honorourmilitary.us.