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Fox Run makes debut at parade

Resident-designed float honors veterans

Created date

June 21st, 2010

During a presentation to Fox Run residents this April, Novi Mayor David Landry said that with its abundance of talent, he was surprised the community had never entered a float in the city s Memorial Day Parade. [caption id="attachment_12373" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Fox Run s float shortly before it began moving along the Novi Memorial Day Parade route. "] Did that create a chain reaction! Fox Run s Paul Benivegna, a Korean War veteran who chairs the community s hobby shop, ' got to work ' designing a veterans-themed float. The parade was just over a month away, but the project was right up his alley. He d worked with wood since he was a teenager; had been an automotive design-engineering supervisor during his career at Ford Motor Company; and had designed and built a previous float, a second-place prizewinner for Brighton High School when his children were students there. Plus, Benivegna had a right-hand man his neighbor Don Boufford. The two often team up on projects. I design and engineer them and Don expertly critiques them, says Benivegna. Then we procure the materials and build them together. For this project, they also relied on a core group of hobby shop participants. On the trailer that would hold the float, the crew built a 14-foot-long and 6.5-foot-wide box frame and attached eighteen 3-foot-tall wooden posts connected with swags of blue nylon rope as picket fencing. Inside the fence, they bolted four benches to provide seating for Fox Run veterans. We sawed the wood, drilled the holes, and made the posts in the hobby shop, Benivegna says. Then they assembled the float in Fox Run s underground garage and added its 11-foot-tall, flag-capped maypole outside. [caption id="attachment_12372" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Besides its Memorial Day parade float, Fox Run s contingent included two cars and a Fox Run van all decked out for the event."]

When the decorating was done, American flags fluttered from the fence posts, bunting decorated the sides of the trailer, and banners waved along red-starred ropes that stretched from the top of the maypole to the trailer s four corners. The project ignited plenty of interest at
Fox Run. The residents all wanted to participate, Benivegna says. They wanted to paint. They wanted to decorate the maypole. It created a lot of enthusiasm. On parade day, May 31, Vietnam combat veteran Chet Tarczynski served as Fox Run s flag bearer. He walked the 2.5-mile route and led Fox Run s four-unit contingent. A dozen veterans rode on the float, while others rode in decorated vehicles: John Beggs 1935 Ford Woodie station wagon, Dick Miles 2009 Ford Mustang convertible, and an air-conditioned Fox Run van. About 25 Fox Run veterans took part, while more than 100 of their Fox Run neighbors lined the parade route to cheer them on. Mayor Landry gave his official thumbs-up, saying Fox Run had exceeded expectations in rising to his challenge. Then he issued a new one to build an even more impressive float next year. Benivegna is confident Fox Run will do just that.

Fox Run is an Erickson retirement community in Novi, Michigan. Erickson manages a network of 19 communities nationwide that combine a maintenance-free, active lifestyle with social activities, amenities, and medical offerings proven to improve both physical and mental health.