Montel Williams talks TV, service before grand marshaling Myrtle Beach parade

spalisin@thesunnews.comMay 18, 2014 

See Montel Williams, a Marine Corps and Navy veteran and former talk show host, as grand marshal of Myrtle Beach’s Memorial Day weekend parade, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard, from 27th Avenue North southward to Ninth Avenue North.


  • If you go

    What | Sixth annual “Military Appreciation Days”

    By | City of Myrtle Beach and PGBA Inc.

    When | All of May

    Special events include |

    • 5K Run, 7:30 a.m. Saturday, on Ocean Boulevard from Plyler Park, at Mr. Joe White Avenue, and including the boardwalk – free for military (active duty, reserves and veterans), otherwise $20.

    • Memorial Day weekend parade, with Montel Williams, Marine Corps and Navy veteran and former talk show host, as grand marshal, 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard, from 27th Avenue North southward to Ninth Avenue North.

    • Family Picnic, noon-2 p.m. Saturday, on Ocean Boulevard, with military exhibits, children’s activities, concert by Andrew Thielen Big Band, and meet-and-greet with Montel Williams. Free meals from Omar Shriners chefs for all military personnel and veterans, and their families

    • Veterans Beard & ’Stache Beach Bash, on Saturday, for veterans, with such categories as Full Beard, Corporate Beard, Partial Beard (Chops, Goatees, Chin Straps),’Stache, Long Beard, Long ’Stache, Epic Beard, and for all women – even those who are not veterans – Ladies’ Faux. Email to sign up, and register formally 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. that day at “Beard Table,” then judging starts at 12:30 p.m.

    • Memorial Day Ceremony, with Grand Strand Patriotic Alliance, 11 a.m. May 26 at Myrtle Beach Convention Center plaza, on Oak Street at 21st Avenue North.

    • Local History Digitization Project: Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, Phase I, sign up for drawing to win time-capsule package, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. May 27 at Myrtle Beach’s Chapin Memorial Library, 400 14th Ave. N. (918-1275 or Also: visit and change the search format to “digital collection.”

    Information | 918-1014 or

    Other related events


    By | Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10420, based at 4359 U.S. 17 Bypass, Murrells Inlet

    When | 9 a.m. Friday

    Where | Belin Memorial United Methodist Church, 4182 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet

    Also | Sales of memorial bricks for $50 each to honor anyone – even someone who’s not a veteran or Veterans of Foreign Wars member – for grounds around the granite, which salutes 109 service personnel from South Carolina who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan in the war on terror. Post’s memorial “re-dedication” services planned for Memorial Day, May 26 – Its initial dedication was on Veterans Day 2013. Call 222-2791.

    Information | 651-6900


    What | Military themed movies for adults, during “Military Appreciation Days”

    What and when | 1:30 -3:30 p.m. Fridays:

    • May 23 – “Jarhead” (Gulf War setting)

    • May 30 – “Battle: Los Angeles” (imaginary end to world war)

    Where | Myrtle Beach’s Chapin Memorial Library, 400 14th Ave. N., at Kings Highway

    How much | Free, with ticket from front desk

    Information | 918-1275 or


    Benefiting | Canine Angels, a North Myrtle Beach nonprofit that rescues dogs and trains them for use by veterans with disabilities.

    What and when |

    • “Fore the Pups We Putt Golf Tournament,” 9 a.m. May 24 at Rivers Edge Golf Plantation in Shallotte, N.C. Details at 609-576-2303.

    • “Dine, Dance, and Party” with the pups, 6-10 p.m. May 29 at Castano’s Italian Steakhouse, in Barefoot Landing, on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach, for $38, including three-course meal from choice of four special menu entrees, live music, prizes and auctions. 910-398-7850.

    Information | 917-575-6235 or


    With | music by Stringwood and by Laidback Larry

    When | noon-6 p.m. May 24

    Where | La Belle Amie Vineyard, 1120 St. Joseph Road, Little River, just west of North Myrtle Beach Middle School

    How much | $3, or free with donation of two canned/dry food items for local food banks

    Information | 399-9463 or


    By | Town of Surfside Beach

    When | 4-8 p.m. May 25

    Where | Surfside Pier

    Also |

    • Memorial Day Service, 2:30 p.m. May 26 in town’s Passive Park with veterans memorial, at Surfside and Willow drives, by front of Horry County Memorial Library Surfside Beach branch.

    How much | All for free

    Information | 650-9548 or


    When | 9:30 a.m. May 26

    Where | Sunset Beach, N.C., Town Park, on Sunset Boulevard

    Including |

    • Dedication of new flag pole, with retired Lt. Col. Gordon Coulson, from Committee to Honor America’s Veterans

    • National anthem performed by Linda Ladrick

    • Keynote speech by U.S. Rep. Michael McIntyre

    • Playing of memorial wreath by Boy Scout Troop 201

    • Playing of taps, by Steven Baker, and Ben Simmons, trumpeter from West Brunswick High School

    Information | 910-579-6297


    By | North Myrtle Beach Memorial Gardens, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10804, American Legion Post 186, the Ladies Auxiliary in Myrtle Beach, the Knights of Columbus from Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, and the Grand Strand Gold Star Mothers.

    When | 11 a.m. May 26

    Where | North Myrtle Beach Memorial Gardens, at U.S. 17, S.C. 9, S.C. 90 and Nixon Crossroads

    With | Music by the Myrtle Beach Regional Pipe Band, at 10:30 a.m.

    Information | 249-2932


    By | Stephanie Trick-Alderighi, pianist

    Benefiting | Help A Veteran, a nonprofit organization assisting veterans with special needs, and Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center of Little River

    When | 1-4 p.m. May 31

    Where | Grand Strand Senior Center, 1268 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach

    How much | $15 individual, or two for $25

    Information | 222-0718 or

Myrtle Beach’s annual Memorial Day weekend parade might also be known for welcoming grand marshals who have mastered multitasking in their careers as well as in serving Uncle Sam.

Montel Williams, a Marine who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with an engineering with a minor in international security, earned such honors as pairs of Meritorious Service and Navy Commendation and Achievement medals, and later hosted a Daytime Emmy Award-winning TV talk show for more than 17 years.

A motivational speaker, Williams also has established the Montel Williams MS Foundation and penned several best-selling books, including “Living Well Emotionally: Breakthrough to a life of Happiness” and “Living Well: 21 days to Transform Your Life, Supercharge Your Health, and Feel Spectacular.” Last year, he partnered with Union Springs Media to launch the website

Ready to ride in the parade on Saturday – which steps off at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard, from 27th Avenue North southward to Ninth Avenue North – Williams takes a baton carried by Buzz Aldrin, retired astronaut in 2010; U.S. Sen. John McCain in 2011; Army Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., S.C. adjutant general, in 2012; and Rocky Bleier, a four-time Super Bowl running back with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s, in 2013.

While traveling in the past week, Williams fielded some questions by email, responding within a day.

Question | With your having hosted a TV show for more than 17 years, in what unseen, maybe-not-noticed-for-a-while ways did that position help you in your own life, for something therapeutic or uplifting, including through your books?

Answer | My show was different because it took on everyday issues and approached them from the perspective of not what happened, but rather why things happened and try to figure out solutions – that is how I live my life – I don’t belabor the what; I figure out the why and put my energy into finding solutions.

Q. | In standing up to multiple sclerosis, how has that emboldened you to make a difference, even if for other people, helping them in ways beyond anything you can do for yourself?

A. | My public diagnosis with MS thrust me into the position as one of the public faces of this illness – a position I take on with gratitude. My hope is through my journey to impact my own illness, I can help others find hope.

Q. | Was comfort in front of a camera from your longtime talk show a factor in landing roles on mammoth hit series as “Guiding Light,” “Touched By an Angel” and “JAG”?

A. | What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I truly enjoy acting, I’ve had my own series in “Matt Waters,” I’ve been on Broadway, and I enjoy the creative side of the stage as much as I enjoy the analytical side of the stage that came with the talk show.

Q. | The final season of “JAG,” in spring 2005, included an episode in the setting of Parris Island, where you had basic training after enlisting in the Marine Corps. What memories of those times surface when you visit the Lowcountry?

A. | It’s been quite a long time since I have been to the Lowcountry and not for any other reason than I have been busy and traveling in other places. One of my daughters lived in Charleston for a time, and I am constantly reminded of how beautiful South Carolina is, so I am very much looking forward to coming back for the parade.

Q. | With a military career begun in the Marines, and shifting to the Navy, with more than a decade of active duty and later retiring from the Navy Reserves as a lieutenant commander, after 22 years of service to the county, what has Memorial Day always meant for you, and how has it occupied or carved a bigger place in your heart?

A. | Having spent 22 years serving in the military, supporting and defending the Constitution, and so, Memorial Day will always acknowledge and represent the sacrifice made by so many and remind us of the best of what Americans can be.

Q. | The “JAG” spinoff “NCIS” hasn’t lost any luster the years as a CBS staple. Are there any military-theme shows on TV today that keep you glued as a fan?

A. | I’ll admit to being a fanatic for the History Channel, for unscripted historical shows from the Romans to the modern day.

Q. | Any time before or after our local Memorial Day weekend parade to ride the colossal Swamp Fox wooden coaster at Family Kingdom Amusement Park, with quite the view of downtown Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand coastline from atop its crest?

A. | I’m a huge roller coaster fan, but I think it’s probably not in the cards on this trip. Guess I’ll have to plan another trip down the road.

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.

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