Says floats spread pro-life awareness

CHAMPAIGN — Want to promote a pro-life theme within your community? Enter a float with a message in a local parade.

Better yet, design the float so well that it becomes a prize winner.

So suggests Myrna Buyno, a member of St. Matthew’s Parish in Champaign. And she speaks from experience.

A float she helped design for the Fourth of July parade in Champaign-Urbana this year was awarded the grand prize trophy. The parade’s theme was “Honoring Our Military Heroes,” and the float did so effectively with various decorations, including a large poster of two military men mourning over war and its many losses.

But the pro-life float also thanked the soldiers for protecting all of us — “the pre-born and the born.” And when the float passed, viewers saw a sign illustrating the number of soldiers killed in each of America’s wars, with a final figure noting the 50 million victims of the “war on the unborn” since the U.S. Supreme Court decisions legalizing abortion in 1973.

“We plant the seed,” said Buyno, who with her husband John are founders of the Champaign-based pro-life group “Life is for Everyone.” “We want them to see the message. We know it saves babies.

“That’s why we do it, to save babies,” she added.

The group — which sponsors the area Life Chain and a candlelight vigil and often works closely with parish pro-life groups including the Respect Life Committee of St. Matthew’s Parish — has presented a float in the parade for several years. It also earned a grand prize in 2001 and a “best in theme” recognition in 2004.

Buyno credited several people involved in the preparation of this year’s float, including Andy Edwards, who provided the wagon and Curtis Orchard for the barn where the decorating took place. Others who assisted with decorations and construction included Mary Lee Brady, Jim North, Barbara Sipes, John Buyno, Greg Whalen, Dennis Menke, Sue Kloth, Mary Eppich, Jerome Colburn and Kay Miller.

But Buyno reserved her highest gratitude for Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn. The float included her image resting against the American flag.

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