Michael J. Marella Jr., of Bridgeport, will be introduced as the Parade Grand Marshal of the 2013 Columbus Celebration by the Council of Italian-American Societies of Greater Bridgeport at a special reception Monday, April 29, at the Bridgeport P.A.L., 7 Quarry Road, in Trumbull.

At the reception from 6-8 p.m., Marella will officially assume his Grand Marshal duties of the 105th Columbus Day Parade, the oldest running one in the state.

Marella, a Bridgeport native and resident, plans to build on the tradition of the Columbus Day Parade, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 13, and continue to improve it. He foresees reaching out to new organizations and businesses to join in the Columbus Day celebration as sponsors and volunteers. He also wants to include more local marching bands in the parade roster.

Marella, a retired Bridgeport Police Officer, was involved in overseeing the incredible community response when the PAL Christmas Village burned down shortly before the holiday in 1982, and then rose from the ashes in time to present Christmas presents to area youth. The rebuilding of Christmas Village became a national news story that drew community support and donations from across the country. In 1983 through PAL, under Marella’s direction, Easter Village was launched to present gifts to children.

He is married to Judith Marella.