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Sprinkles cool parade watchers
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members of the Williston High School unit of the U.S. Army Jr. Reserve Officer Training Corps provide the Color Guard for the Independence Day Parade on July 3.

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Story and Photos

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 4, 2015 @ 10:07 p.m.
     WILLISTON -- About an hour before the Independence Day Parade in Williston on Friday evening (July 3), raindrops and big bolts of lightning were falling and shooting out of the sky in the area, but by the 5 p.m. launch time for the parade, only light sprinkles remained -- cooling the air to the mid-70s, after it had been in the mid-90s earlier that afternoon.

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Grand Marshal Debra Jones waves.

Parade070315F     The big parade in Williston kicked off festivities for people in that city on Friday night, which included fun at Horsemen's Park and concluded with a fireworks show.
     Reflexive of the theme of America's birth from a time when it had been a set of colonies of Great Britain, many floats were red, white and blue birthday cakes.
     The single-most important figurehead of the parade itself has a history as a local leader.
     Debra Jones, a former Williston City Council member and former president of the Levy County Fair Association, rode as the Grand Marshal in the parade this year.
     A couple of police officers from the Ocala Police Department cleared the way for her as they rode their motorcycles at the very front of the parade. Following them in the procession were Williston Police Chief Dennis Strow and Levy County Sheriff Robert “Bobby” McCallum Jr.
     Among the members of the state legislature in the parade were Rep. Jimmie T. Smith (R-Inglis, Dist. 24) and Rep. Dennis K. Baxley (R-Ocala, Dist. 23)
Parade070315K     Among the members of the judiciary in the parade were Eighth Judicial Circuit Senior Judge Joseph E. Smith, Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge James M. Colaw and Levy County Court Judge James T. “Tim” Browning.

Levy County Sheriff Robert “Bobby” McCallum Jr.

     Levy County Commission Chairman John Meeks, and commissioners Danny Stevens and Lilly Rooks walked the route. Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones walked the route as well and was giving out candy like the three county commissioners.
     Another county elected official in the parade was Levy County Superintendent of Schools Robert O. Hastings.
     Beyond these and other government interests in the procession, private enterprise had some units in the parade. Regional General Hospital of Williston had Uncle Sam driving a motorcycle, as well as people marching behind a banner and an attractive float with an eagle at the front of it.
Parade070315V     Churches in the parade included the Church of God of Williston and First United Methodist Church of Williston.

Rep. Dennis K. Baxley (R-Ocala, Dist. 23)

     Royalty from the Bronson Blueberry Festival included 2015 Bronson Blueberry Festival King Daven Ellis Stewart and 2015 Bronson Petite Blueberry Queen Abigail Johnson.
     Other royalty who were in the parade included 2015 Chiefland Watermelon Queen Hailey Bason; 2014-15 Little Peanut King Cody Haff;
2015 Junior Miss Levy County Fair Kensley Durrance; 2015 Miss Levy County Fair Sabrina Brice; and 2015 Ambassador of Imperial Beauties of America Mackenzie Henderson. There was even a very tall float with several Queens of the Miss Heart of the USA Pageant.

Parade070315W     Spiffy vehicles were plentiful as well.
     A whole section of Corvette drivers were in the parade with their cars. Old Army vehicles provided entertainment for people who watched the parade too.

Circuit Court Judge James Colaw prepares to share sugar with parade spectators.

     Firetrucks from Williston and Bronson played their part with lights and sirens.
     A couple of national stars were in the parade.
     Smokey Bear from the Florida Forestry Service was inside a bulldozer that sat on a trailer pulled by a semi-tractor.
     Ronald Macdonald was driving his three-wheeled clown-mobile.

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Levy County Fair President Amanda Henderson
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     The parade was as impressive as usual. Some photographers may have experienced streaks of what appeared to be white on their pictures as the drizzle was harder at some times. And for those who did not clear their lenses, the blurriness from water on the lens may have caused some frustration.
     There may have been a slight spike in rice sales as people put their cell phones in them to dry them out after the drizzly event.
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The patriotic float of First United Methodist Church of Williston shows its 'Happy Birthday' message to the nation.
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Bronson Fire Rescue participates in their neighbor's parade.
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An Ocala police officer leads the parade, and circles back to greet a little girl who is watching the parade.
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Children collect candy from the street.
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State Rep. Jimmie T. Smith walks the parade route with his daughter.
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Smokey Bear waves to people.
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Regional General Hospital of Williston was well represented.
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This float with some of the many workers of Regional General Hospital of Williston reflects patriotism and the community spirit of the hospital.
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2015 Bronson Petite Blueberry Queen Abigail Johnson
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Jackson Fowler drives the truck to transport 2015 Bronson Petite Blueberry Queen Abigail Johnson. Seated next to him is Tiffany Fowler, Abigail's mom.

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2015 Bronson Blueberry Festival King Daven Ellis Stewart

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2015 Chiefland Watermelon Queen Hailey Bason
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2014-15 Little Peanut King Cody Haff
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Williston Police Chief Dennis Strow
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Levy County Judge James T. Browning (left) and Senior Judge Joseph E. Smith

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2015 Miss Levy County Fair Tiny Tot Briley Durden.
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2015 Junior Miss Levy County Fair Kensley Durrance
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2015 Miss Levy County Fair Sabrina Brice rides in a convertible as Judi Yaeger of the Levy County Fair Association walks on one one side of the vehicle and Mackenzie Henderson, 2015 Ambassador  of Imperial Beauties of America, walks on the other side. Many Levy County Fair volunteers walked along the parade route and gave away candy.
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Some of the Queens of the Miss Heart of the USA
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Haven Hospice recognizes
five war veterans

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Standing in the background are Haven Hospice Veteran Volunteer Sandra Baker (left) and Frances Helping. In the foreground are Ray Helping's grandchildren Tanner and Madison Rodgers, and daughter Donna Lovvorn. Ray Helping is in the chair with the framed certificate.

Published July 1, 2015 @ 1:07 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND
-- Joseph Holubek of Chiefland, Max Mundell of Morriston, Ray Helping of Archer, Wilbur McCallister of Williston and Lawrence Green of Old Town were recently recognized for their military service by Haven Hospice Veteran Volunteers.
     Helping served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
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Joseph Holubek (left) is seen with Haven Hospice Veteran Volunteer Sandra Baker.

      During World War II, Holubek served in the United States Marine Corps and Green served in the U.S. Merchant Marine.

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Max Mundell holds his certificate as Haven Hospice Veteran Volunteer Sandra Baker (left) and Max’s wife Nita Mundell stand in the background.

     Mundell and McCallister both served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

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Seen here (from left) are Bonnie McCallister, Wilbur McCallister and Haven Hospice Veteran Volunteer Sandra Baker.

     The Haven Hospice Pinning Ceremony for veteran patients includes a veteran pin, a thank you card signed by the staff and a certificate of appreciation from Haven Hospice, which are all presented by volunteer veterans.

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Lawrence Green is seated and holds his certificate as Merle Green (left) and Haven Hospice Veteran Volunteer Sandra Baker join him for the presentation.

     The veterans were also presented with patriotic quilts that were made by Friends of Haven Volunteer Darlene Meeks on behalf of Ellzey United Methodist Church in Otter Creek. The presentation ends with a salute to honor the veteran’s service.
     Haven Hospice is a not-for-profit, community hospice organization providing comprehensive services since 1979 and licensed in Florida since 1980. Haven is North Florida's expert in end-of-life and palliative care, receiving national recognition as a Circle of Life Award Recipient from the American Hospital Association for its excellence and innovation.
     Haven has also been recognized as a Florida Pacesetter for its leadership in promoting advance directives. For more than 35 years Haven has had the honor and privilege to serve more than 70,000 patients and families in North Florida. For more information, visit www.havenhospice.org or call 800-727-1889.


-- UPDATED --  

TUE.  JULY  7,  7:07 a.m.

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