Town salutes Independence with annual parade
Hundreds lined German Street on Tuesday to celebrate our nation’s independence by watching the 10th annual Fourth of July parade, sponsored by the Rotary Club.
Parade announcer, Todd Coyle had no trouble eliciting applause from an enthusiastic crowd as he announced a whopping 73 entries this year, starting with the color guard from the Martinsburg Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.
Retired United States Navy Commander, Mike Austin functioned as Grand Marshal. Austin served more than 23 years with the Navy, including being a commanding officer on a series of naval vessels and commander of an intermediate support base on shore in Vietnam.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars held a place of prominence in the parade as well.
“This a great celebration of our founding fathers and what they did to secure our Constitution,” said Todd Kingsbury, West Virginia State Commander of the VFW.
The VFW has recouped 8 billion dollars in veterans benefits through the Veterans Administration for the veterans, and have testified 22 times before Congress last year on behalf of veterans.
Many other veterans groups, civic groups, antique cars, businesses, theater representatives, members from Town Council and the Jefferson County Sheriff Pete Dougherty marched down German Street, waving to the cheers of the crowd.
Also participating in the parade was the recently crowned Miss West Virginia, Tamia Hardy, and other pageant winners. Hardy, a Shepherd grad, will go on to represent West Virginia at the Miss America pageant to be held in Sept. of this year.
Parade favorite, “Uncle Sam” portrayed by David Miljour also “fathered” the parade and picnic in 2007 when he was president of the Rotary Club.
Rounding out the parade was the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department, the oldest fire department in the county, protecting Shepherdstown and surrounding areas for over 200 years.
Although the Fourth of July activities are a big draw for locals, there were many people from out of town in attendance.
This is the second year that Brenda and Felix Sambuchino have driven from Georgetown to watch the parade in Shepherdstown.
“(Felix) is a veteran and we were extremely touched this year that they gave him a pin from the parade. It was very special,” Brenda said. “You don’t see that kind of individual recognition in Washington (D.C.). You don’t see a lot of this. We really enjoy this small town parade and we will come back every year.”
Jim Rheinheimer, a veteran and Colorado resident, was in Shepherdstown for his cousin’s memorial service and wanted to stay to watch parade.
“It’s great to be here on the Fourth, celebrating our freedom, being in America. It’s a time for getting with family,” Rheinheimer said.
After the parade, many made their way to Morgan’s Grove park for the annual picnic. There were numerous children’s activities including a water slide, face painting, story telling and more. The Speakeasy Boys and The Gypsy Ramblers played music, while the Rotary Club sold hamburgers, hot dogs and ice cream to hungry revelers.