Parade organizers American Legion Post 1424 and Forest Hills Kiwanis Club last week announced the grand marshals for this year’s festivities, Detective Gigi Redzematovic of the 112th Precinct and Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Sullivan.
Both grand marshals were chosen due to their exemplary public service through the police force or the military. They were each contacted through Tom Long, commander of the American Legion.
The parade will take place on Sunday, May 29, at noon, and begins at Metropolitan and Ascan avenues and marches down Metropolitan Avenue to Remsen Memorial Park at Trotting Course Lane.
Redzematovic was in shock when she received the phone call from Tom Long commander of Post 1424.
“At first I told him to give it to someone in the community because it’s my job, I just love to help out and I like to be out there with the community,” she said. “I was super excited and almost stopped breathing for a second. I never imagined being given that honor.”
Redzematovic has been with the 112th Precinct for 18 years, joining right after she graduated from the Police Academy. She has served as the Community Affairs officer and was promoted to detective in 2013.
She has worked with parade organizers in the past to close down streets and maintain the smooth flow of floats and marchers, as well as make sure that safety is a priority and that Metropolitan Avenue looks its best.
Redzematovic said being named grand marshal sends the message that there is a great relationship between the community and the police.
“It’s a blessing to know that the community really appreciates everything that I’ve done,” she said.
Currently, Sullivan is a financial advisor with AXA Advisors and serves as the commander of the 389th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion at Fort Totten in Bayside. He has been in the Army for nearly 23 years.
Between 2007 and 2015, Sullivan spent time in Iraq and Kuwait and returned from Afghanistan last November.
Sullivan's military honors include the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the NATO Medal.
Additionally, he received the Congressional Certificate of Merit for Military Service and the Honorable Order of Saint Christopher.
“I was very honored to be selected as the grand marshal,” said Sullivan, a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and a member of the American Legion since 2006.
He said the one thing he’s looking forward to the most is “walking among other veterans.”
“I’ve had a lot of proud moments in my 23 years of service, but the most proud that I’ve ever been is when I was able to walk among my fellow veterans after having served my first overseas deployment,” Sullivan said.