Rain or shinePublished 11:58am Thursday, July 4, 2013
Pike County patriots turn out for annual parade
Thursday morning was more than a little soggy, but the rain didn’t dampen the patriotic spirit in Meeksville
“I remember it raining before, but never this hard,” said Jeremy LaFountaine. “But, it’s a tradition, rain or shine.”
LaFountain was part of a group who drove up from near Daytona Beach and made it to Pike County about 2 a.m. on July 4. LaFountaine’s parents, Diane and Hank LaFountaine, were longtime staples of the parade, offering up their land and home to neighbors when festivities were in China Grove.
“It’s Ms. Diane’s dedication and memorial service today, so we are really here for her and to carry on the tradition,” said Janice Nichols, who traveled with LaFountaine.
The group, including five children, decorated an SUV in the rain Thursday morning after scrapping plans to ride in the back of a truck.
“We’re improvising,” Nichols said. “The kids were really excited about throwing candy, but now they are excited about eating it.”
LaFountaine said the day was “bittersweet” after losing his mother suddenly last year, but he said it was very nice to see people still turn out for the parade that meant so much to her – even with the rain.
Another group of parade riders and marchers gathered together under the shelter of a fire truck bay at the Meeksville Fire Department.
Freddie Turner, with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7055 in Brundidge, said there was “no chance” he was going to miss walking in the parade.
“I just appreciate this wonderful day and I am here in honor of Chester Rousseau,” Turner said.
Rousseau, a Marine Corps veteran and lifetime member of Post 7055, died on June 20.
Chuck Ford, also a Marine Corps veteran, said he hoped to also honor his friend Rousseau through his presence at Thursday’s parade.
Ford was with a group from Community Baptist Church near Pine Level and said the rain wasn’t enough to deter true patriots.
“Hey, I was in the Marine Corps,” Turner said. “We went wherever, rain or shine. The weather isn’t a determining factor. It’s about commitment.”
While the roadside wasn’t packed with parade watchers this year, there were still parade faithfuls who watched from their cars and a couple of families who set up party tents by the side of the road. There were about a dozen parade entries in this year’s event, including fire trucks, the Pike County Sheriff’s Department, the VFW and area residents.