WWII POW to serve as July 4th grand marshal

June 20, 2022

Mayor Bryan Kuder in coordination with the Centralia Veteran Affairs Committee is proud to announce Mr. Rolves, a WW II War Veteran, as this year’s Grand Marshal for the 4th of July Veterans Parade. The parade starts at 1 p.m. with participants lining up on Chestnut Street in downtown Centralia beginning at Noon. The Parade will end in Fairview Park.

Vince Rolves is one of the last few living WW2 prisoners of war in Illinois. He willingly served his country during a time of great need only one month after turning 18. He served in the U.S. Army’s 45th Infantry Division. On Dec. 14, 1943, near Naples, Italy, Rolves and other soldiers from company C, found themselves in battle with German soldiers. Vince was shot in the left ankle. Unable to retreat to safety, he and 14 other American soldiers were captured by the Germans. He spent 18 months in a prison camp and survived. Unfortunately, that in itself is a feat that few accomplished. Vince Rolves received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Prisoner of War Medal. Vince later worked on the family farm and went on to be a businessman and an employee at Scott Air Force Base for 30 years. He also established a support organization for former POW’s in the area. He shared his experiences with local schools, so that students would understand the sacrifices our soldiers have made.

The City is proud to acknowledge Mr. Vince Rolves and other combatants from Centralia and the surrounding area. Please join them at 1 p.m. on Monday, July 4 along West Broadway for the 11th annual 4th of July Veterans Parade and take the opportunity to see Vince as he leads the parade. Awards will be presented directly after the parade at the War Memorial by the Veteran’s pavilion in Fairview Park.

Any organization, club, dance team, group or individual interested in participating in the event may contact Butch Mathus at 618-533-5602, email wamacer@att.net, obtain an entry form at Centralia City Hall or download by visiting the City’s website at cityofcentralia.org.

For any questions regarding the City of Centralia Veteran Affairs Committee, please contact Kim Enke, City Clerk at 618-533-7623 or by email at kaenke@cityofcentralia.org.

Pictured above is Vince Rolves, U.S. Army, WWII Veteran

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