The Camillus Memorial Day Parade Committee has for the first time in the parade's history selected a married couple to serve as grand marshals of the 64th annual parade.
Master Sgt. Giles Cunningham and his wife, Staff Sgt. Shannon Cunningham, of Camillus, were chosen for as the 2010 grand marshal honor and as guest speakers. Both have served tours in Afghanistan, and Giles has also served in Iraq and expects to be called for a third tour.
Shannon Cunningham grew up in Memphis and attended Jordan-Elbridge High School. Between her junior and senior years at J-E, she joined the New York National Guard and completed basic training in Fort Dix, N.J.
She went on to serve active duty in security positions with the U.S. National Guard. In March 2008 Shannon worked in security and public affairs at an airport in Rabual, Afghanistan. At home, she is an officer with the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department.
Giles Cunningham grew up in Princeton, N.J. and Annapolis, Md. before joining the U.S. Army in 1992. He was posted in various administrative and security jobs at forts throughout the country before joining the National Guard in Syracuse.
It was here in CNY that the couple met in 2000. Giles' unit, the 27th Army Brigade, saw duty in New York City immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, and three years later he headed out for a 12-month tour in Iraq.
Shannon and Giles were able to stay in touch through telephone conversations while he was overseas, and were married Jan. 1, 2007.
Giles remains on active duty with the 27th Brigade and plans to retire with 20 years of service in 2012.
The Cunninghams will be honored this year at the Camillus Memorial Day Parade, which begins at 9:30 a.m. Monday May 31.
To donate to the parade committee, which raises about $6,000 each year to stage the annual event, send a $10 contribution to Parade Committee, c/o Robert Cudworth, 387 Northfield Way, Camillus, NY 13031. The donation will earn you, or someone of your choosing, a star on the traditional "Be a Star, Buy a Star" board erected outside Camillus Municipal Building later this month.