Ross honored as parade Grand Marshal

Published 7:29 pm Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pike County Veterans Affairs Officer Randy Ross will be honored as the Grand Marshal of the 2014 Independence Day Parade in Brundidge Saturday.
The parade is sponsored annually by the Brundidge Business Association and, each year, the BBA selects an individual who plays a significant role in the community as its Grand Marshal.
Delatha Mobley, BBA member, nominated Ross for the award and said she is thrilled that he was chosen as the Grand Marshal.
“Randy has been active in the Brundidge community for many years,” she said. “I can’t think of anyone who has promoted Brundidge more than Randy. He works with our festivals and he leads a dance group that participates in festivals and events all around the area. Everywhere Randy goes, he promotes his hometown.”
Mobley said the Independence Day Parade honors all veterans and Ross is a veteran as well as a community servant.
“We all appreciate the service he provides for our veterans and his participation in the services and ceremonies that honor veterans.”
Ross said being chosen the Grand Marshall of the Independence Day Parade is a great honor.
“To be honored by the warm, loving and close knit community where I live is the greatest honor I could ever receive,” Ross said. “I love Brundidge. I couldn’t live in a better place.”
Ross served in the U.S. Navy from 1970-1972. The first year of his service he was assigned to the USS Saratoga in the Mediterranean. The second year, he served on the USSA America, an aircraft carrier, in the Gulf of Tonkin where planes were catapulted into the war in Vietnam.
When Ross returned home, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve and retired in 1990. He was proud of his service to his country but was eager to find his place in the work world. That place was in the insurance business.
“I enjoyed the insurance business but at age, 50, I found myself without a job,” Ross said. “I kind of felt like if I could wait and give it time, fate would deal me a good hand and it did – a perfect hand.”
Ross saw a newspaper ad for a veterans’ service officer in Pike County. He applied and was hired.
“Saturday, the day of the Independence Day Parade, will mark 16 years that I have been a service officer for the Veterans Affairs Office,” he said. “So, Saturday will be a very special day for me.”
Ross said being a veterans’ affairs service officer has been the most fulfilling job he could ever have.
“I get to hear the stories the veterans share. Sometimes we laugh together and other times we cry together,” he said. “War forever changed our veterans and the opportunity to serve them has forever changed me. It is an honor to serve our veterans and I hope, in some small way, I have helped make life better for them and their families.”
The Independence Day Parade will get underway at 9 a.m. and follow a Main Street route through Brundidge.
On Friday night, the BBA will honor all veterans with a “Salute to Veterans” at 7 p.m. at the Knox Ryals Pavilion on the grounds of City Hall. Special guests will be veterans, Mrs. Alabama USA 2014 Rebecca Suggs, “Minnie Pearl,” “Dolly Parton” and friends.

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