Your 2018 Maple Leaf Parade Marshal – Neil Duresky
This year’s Maple Leaf Parade Marshal lived in La Crosse his entire life with the exception of four years of military service. His mother worked at the Freight House when it was a freight house, at Peerless Brewery, and as a legal secretary. His father worked for the G. Heileman Brewing Company: first as a member of the Old Style Lagers semi-pro football team, and then as a driver and brewery worker. Our parade marshal assures us he helped keep Heileman’s in black ink while attending college.
He was happily married 48 years until his wife died in 2015. He is the proud father of five children and their spouses, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Our parade marshal has a significant other who is a public school classmate, a retired Heileman’s human resource manager, and a past chair of the Miss Oktoberfest pageant.
The Maple Leaf Parade Marshal graduated from Logan High School and UW- La Crosse. He retired after 21 years’ military service as a Naval Reserve petty officer, an Air Force munitions officer, and a Wisconsin Air National Guard aircraft maintenance squadron commander. He is a retired Federal tax collector and a retired executive director of the local American Red Cross
The Maple Leaf Parade Marshal was involved in Boy Scout leadership and Shelby youth baseball coaching. He delivered mobile meals, volunteered at Community Thanksgiving Dinners and was a parent member of the La Crosse School District’s High School Reorganization Committee and Citizens Elementary Long-range Planning Committee. He was on the UW-L Veterans Hall of Honor Committee and the Chancellor’s Community Council.
He was a commander of American Legion Post 52, and is a member of their military honors funeral detail. He is past Commander of the La Crosse County 40 et 8 veterans honor society, and is a member of the 40 et 8 train crew – raising funds for nursing scholarships and child welfare.
He was a 17-year La Crosse Board of Education member – eight years as president; was a Freedom Honor Flight board member; and was on Congressman Ron Kind’s Academy Selection Committee. The Maple Leaf Parade Marshal earned his private pilot’s license when he was 67 and has been a volunteer pilot and ground crew member for Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 307’s Young Eagles introductory youth flights. He also spent five years on the La Crosse Regional Airport Aviation Board.
He was a board member and president of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards; a member of the Wisconsin American Legion state Legislative Committee; and a member of Governor Doyle’s Task Force on Educational Excellence.
This year’s Maple Leaf Parade Marshal was on the Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Educational Data Advisory Committee; and was a member of Department of Public Instruction task forces on Blind and Visually Impaired Student Needs, and a Library Media and Instructional Technology Guide Revision.
Our new Maple Leaf Parade Marshal had articles published in “The American School Board Journal”, “Wisconsin School News” and the La Crosse school district’s “Community Talk”. He actively advocated for public education in Madison with state legislators; and in Washington, D.C., with Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation.
He played bass in La Crosse’s second rock and roll band – The Saffires, and played in a Logan Dixieland band, The Top Hats, appearing live on Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour in 1959. The Maple Leaf Parade Marshal stopped playing for 41 years, and then joined The Grumpy Old Men swing band for 15 years. He also played with several rock bands; but is now devoted to swing and traditional jazz as a member of The Seven Rivers Jazz Band and The Pearl Street Banjo Band.
Former Maple Leaf Parade Marshals
|Year||Maple Leaf Parade Marshal|
|1973||Alma Burns Zahn*|
|1976||Jean Gitz Bassett|
|1977||Paul "Pip" Wuest*|
|1980||L. Peter Groves|
Maple Leaf Parade
Maple Leaf Parade Marshal Nomination
Know Someone that should “Lead the Way?” Nominate a Parade Marshal today using the Parade Marshal nomination form!
Submit your nomination for a 2019 Parade Marshal by completing the online form below.
Your nominee should be a person who:
- has contributed positively to the good of the community through leadership and outstanding accomplishments;
- someone of good character that is well-respected;
- well-known, well-liked, friendly, outgoing, and has a good personality; and
- lives within 20 miles of La Crosse.