GRANITE CITY — For the last 15 years, Steve Nonn was a spectator at the Labor Day parades in Granite City and Alton.
On Sept. 7, the Madison County coroner will be the grand marshal of the 35th annual Granite City Labor Day Parade. Nonn was selected by the executive board of the Greater Madison County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO to be grand marshal two weeks ago.
“I’m certain that my mom and dad, who both have gone up to heaven now, will be very proud to see me as the parade marshal for this upcoming Labor Day parade in my hometown,” Nonn said. “I’m just thrilled.”
The parade starts at 10 a.m. The parade lineup begins at 9 a.m. in downtown Granite City on State Street between 18th and Niedringhaus streets. There will be a picnic with live music and a petting zoo at Wilson Park.
“It’s so well-attended,” Nonn said. “From the beginning to end, those streets on Madison Avenue are just packed. That is a well-attended parade for sure.”
Nonn has been Madison County coroner since November 2000. He worked as a member of the St. Louis Major Case Squad from 1980 to 2000 and attained the rank of deputy commander. He also served with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department for 26 years and attained the rank of lieutenant in the detective division.
On March 26, Nonn received the Friend of Labor award from the Greater Madison County Federation of Labor.
“They have an annual banquet and that’s when they give out awards,” Nonn said. “About a week ahead of time, they said, ‘Hey, we wanted to give you a heads-up that the executive committee has taken a vote that you’re getting the Friend of Labor award this year.’”
Among the members of the federation are President Dean Webb, Secretary Cathi Gitchoff and Treasurer Terry Healey.
Nonn said he’s thrilled to get the Friend of Labor award and being named grand marshal of the Granite City Labor Day Parade in the same year.
“That means so much to me for several reasons,” said Nonn, who started going to Labor Day parades in 1999. “Number one, it’s my hometown. Number two, both of my parents were very strong union people. They were members of their unions in Granite City. My dad was a steelworker for General Steel Industries, also known as Commonwealth. That plant has since closed down. He was a proud steelworker. My mom was a Granite City High School cafeteria worker and she belonged to their cafeteria workers union, so I come from a family that is strong in membership and they believed in the unions. So to be asked not only to be the parade marshal of this Labor Day parade, but also getting that Friends of Labor award for 2015 was particularly a humbling experience for me.”
The Granite City Labor Day Parade was revived Sept. 7, 1981, after a 24-year hiatus. The 1981 parade embraced unions in Granite City, Madison and Venice. The parade committee consisted of Edwin Reiske, president of the Granite City Trades and Labor Council; and Robert Means, subdistrict director of the United Steelworkers of America.