Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| July 1, 2020
The parades began on Easter, when the pandemic lockdown was fresh in everyone’s minds, and due to required social distancing, children were unable to see the Easter Bunny.
“We recognized that due to the COVID Pandemic, many little ones may not have had an opportunity to see the Easter Bunny. It was important to us to find a way to bring our community together during a difficult time while respecting safety concerns,” said Everette Robbins, director of public safety.
Since Easter, the Huron Township Department of Public Safety has been involved in hundreds of parades around the township to help celebrate various birthdays and milestones, as well as honoring the lives of community members who have died recently.
The parades, staffed by volunteers, celebrated children’s birthdays, senior citizen birthdays, military hero homecomings, front-line worker appreciation, and ended with a special drive-by for honorary Firefighter Bobby Kamin.
The department participated in funeral escorts for Huron Township families that were unable to have proper services for their loved ones due to the ongoing pandemic; an initiative organized by the department’s Police Officer Reserve Program.
Robbins thanked Reserve Officer Anthony Joquico and Reserve Commander James Dufour for their roles in the escorts.
“These celebratory parades began as just a couple vehicles, usually one police car and maybe
one fire truck,” Robbins said. “After a few times out, Chief Hinojosa came to me and said his staff approached him and wondered why they were not able to be more involved in the celebratory parades. The answer was simply that we could only use volunteers. The response from the fire staff was that they wanted to volunteer and volunteer they did. For most parades, we would have so many of our fire staff volunteering that we would have to turn some of them away. We had 3 or 4 firefighters, using all pertinent safety precautions, in multiple vehicles because they wanted to be part of the community experience. Some of these parades ended up having upwards of 10 vehicles in the procession. I am immensely proud of the way all of our public safety staff stepped up to represent our community.”
On June 26, the department escorted Huron High School’s class of 2020 during a special parade for the graduates.
“I want the Class of 2020 to know how proud we are of them. They have lost so many things due to the pandemic. We expect them to do great things. Congratulations to the graduates and their families,” Robbins said. “It never gets old seeing this community come together. Hands down, this is my favorite thing I get to be involved with while serving. You can’t put a price on seeing the downtown or one of the villages filled to celebrate something special or seeing the smile of a child’s face as they see the lights and hear the sirens in front of their house as they celebrate their special day.”
Robbins said that having a partnership between public safety and the community is the most important part of the job.
“There is nothing more important to us than community partnerships,” he said. “While we realize the importance of providing quality service to our residents, we feel it is equally important to be a part of the community as well. I am thankful for the support we continue to be given.”