MISSION VIEJO : City to Contribute to Party for Troops

Mission Viejo will be the fifth South County city to donate money for a parade and beach party to honor returning Gulf War veterans.

The City Council agreed Monday to join Laguna Niguel, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano in contributing $3,000 toward the June 8 celebration, which will be held in San Clemente. The city of San Clemente will contribute $5,000 in police services and cleanup operations.

The financial support from the five cities was crucial to the staging of the parade, which will feature at least 500 Marines marching through downtown San Clemente, said event Chairman Dick Whitton.

"Their help says to me that cities are putting their money where their mouth is, in regards to their patriotism and commitment to soldiers," Whitton said.

Although responses from service organizations in the area "have been overwhelming," the group still needs help in raising the $25,000 needed to put on the event, Whitton added.

"We're appealing to the residents of all communities to donate what they can afford," Whitton said. Also needed are buses and drivers to transport the thousands of visitors expected from parking sites to the celebration area.

The parade will start at 10 a.m. near the intersection of Avenida del Mar and El Camino Real. Community floats, a Marine color guard and hundreds of military personnel with families will proceed to the San Clemente Pier, where the parade will end about noon.

From noon to 3 p.m., a brightly decorated Pier Bowl area will be the site of a barbecue and beach party for Gulf War veterans and the public.

Whitton hopes the public will buy enough barbecue lunches to pay for feeding the military, but "even if they don't, what we raise will cover it."

Donations can be sent to the attention of Lynn Bartock at Mariners Bank, 24034 Camino del Avion, Monarch Beach, Calif. 92677. Information is available from the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce at (714) 492-1131.

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