PITTSBORO — Lynn Love and the Pittsboro Jaycees have been planning and implementing the Pittsboro town celebration and parade for 21 years. Love served as the chairman for the event for about 13 of those years.
This year it’s been decided to pass the torch on to the Young Marines.
Keith Gurley is the executive officer for the newest unit of the Young Marines in Indiana. He is also a resident of Pittsboro.
The Young Marines is a youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages 8 through completion of high school. The Young Marines strives to promote the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character building, leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. The Young Marines is the focal point for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Youth Drug Demand Reduction efforts.
“We’ve been meeting in the Speedway American Legion Post and have quickly outgrown the space,” Gurley said. “We started with 15 kids and now we’ve grown to about 32.”
The unit will be moving to the Pittsboro American Legion building in Scamahorn Park in Pittsboro after its break on July 1. They will meet from 6 to 8:30 p.m. each Monday.
“I went to the Pittsboro Town Council meeting to find out who was in charge of the parade because I wanted to get our kids involved,” Gurley said.
During the meeting, he learned that the Jaycees were no longer going to plan the event and that another group that had wanted to take it over had backed out.
“The Jaycees had done the parade for decades,” Gurley said. “I know Lynn Love well and know it takes a lot of manpower to put on the celebration. The Jaycees do an amazing amount of work for the town.”
He said a local business owner didn’t agree with how the event was being planned and started a Facebook campaign.
“Some people in the community started a Facebook campaign about how it was run,” Love said. “After 21 years, the Jaycees have voted not to continue organizing the event.”
In years past, the parade was followed by various community activities and a fireworks display.
Upon hearing of the situation, Gurley volunteered his Young Marines unit to organize the 2013 parade. It will now be called the Pittsboro Town Freedom Parade. The theme is an easy one, he said: “Red, White, and Blue.”
“They had already planned for extra police on June 29 so we’re going to go with that date and make darn sure the community gets a parade,” Gurley said.
The parade will line up across from the fire station on Walnut Street.
“The parade route will be the same one we’ve had for years,” he said. “We’ll go down Main Street and right into Scamahorn Park.”
The route will continue on to Osborn Street and conclude on Meridian Street.
“Being Young Marines, we have connections with some veterans’ organizations,” Gurley said. “We’re hoping to have a few things in the parade people haven’t seen before.”
He said he gets calls daily about more local businesses and farmers who would like to participate in the parade.
“This is the town’s parade and we want anybody in it who wants to participate,” he said. “People can sign up all the way up to the day of the event.”
He said Love has been instrumental to getting the parade together.
“Lynn has been a tremendous help,” Gurley said. “He’s helped me make contact with the right people in the businesses and churches. We couldn’t have done it without him.”
Gurley said the unit didn’t have enough time to fundraise and get a fireworks display together for this year, but is hoping to add it back to the celebration next year.
He said the Young Marines are also very excited to introduce themselves to the community. They will be holding a meet and greet for potential members and their parents immediately following the parade at the Pittsboro American Legion Post.
“We will have lots of information for people who are interested in what we do,” Gurley said.
The section commander for the Young Marines unit is Dave Hulett. He will also be available for more information.
For more information or to sign up to be in the parade, call Gurley at 289-6682.