Gerald Chappell, Korean War Veteran, Grand Marshal for 4th of July Veterans Parade

June 27, 2019

CENTRALIA, IL (June 25, 2019) – Mayor Herb Williams in coordination with the City of Centralia Veteran Affairs Committee is proud to announce Mr. Gerald Chappell, a Korean War Veteran, as this year’s Grand Marshal for the 4th of July Veterans Parade. The parade ends in Fairview Park where a new Korean War Monument will be dedicated.

Gerald “Jerry” Chappell was born in Centralia in 1935 and at the age of 17, he joined the Air Force and trained for the Fire Department. He served a year in Korea during the Korean War; his primary duty was to the fire station on the flight line where he was responsible for aircraft rescue and fire fighting operations. When he returned state side, he served at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, DC until he completed four years of service and was honorably discharged. He joined the reserves and began work at Scott Air Force Base as a civilian with the Fire Department. After 31 years of total service, he retired in 1985 with the rank of Captain.

Jerry may be familiar to local families as he also was a bus driver for several schools. In 1996 he worked tirelessly to save the “Little Chapel” in Elmwood Cemetery. Chappell’s immediate family also has significant service to the United States. Chappell’s wife, Ann, reports Jerry is one of 15 children, four of his brothers served and five of his brothers-in-laws also served as well as many of his nieces and nephews. She attributed at least 305 years given by Jerry’s family members to protect US citizens.

The City is proud to acknowledge Mr. Chappell and other combatants from Centralia and the surrounding area. Please join us on Thursday, July 4th at 10am along West Broadway for the 9th annual 4th of July Veterans Parade and have the opportunity to see Mr. Chappell as he leads the parade. The dedication ceremony for a new Korean War monument in Fairview Park, will take place immediately following the parade.

Any organization, club, dance team, group or individual interested in participating in the event may contact Butch Mathus at or obtain an entry form at Centralia City Hall or by visiting the City’s website

For any questions regarding the City of Centralia Veteran Affairs Committee, please contact Rose Aldag-McVey, Director of Economic Development at 618.533.7637 or by email at