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Lone Pine tradition honors unsung heroes

December 2, 2010

A couple of Lone Pine residents brave wet and rainy weather to participate in last year’s Christmas parade. This year, community members will be honoring local firefighters during the annual Christmas celebration. Photo by Charles James

Lone Pine residents will be honoring volunteer firefighters this holiday season with a Christmas parade dedicated to local men and women who volunteer to leap from bed, dash from the dinner table or leave their day jobs at the drop of a hat to help anyone in need.
The Lone Pine Christmas Parade is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 and will feature firefighters from virtually every volunteer fire department in the county, dozens of entries from local citizens and Lone Pine Fire Chief LeRoy Kritz as grand marshal.
“This Christmas parade is going to be all about the fire department,” said Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kathleen New. “I think they’re the most neglected volunteers we have, and we forget sometimes that they’re there to save lives.”
New said the Chamber selected the longtime fire chief as grand marshal because of his long history of dedicated service.
Kritz has been a member of the Lone Pine Fire Department for more than 40 years, serving more than 20 years as chief, and recently announced that he will be retiring next summer.
“He’s been chief for a long time,” New said. “He’s done a bang-up job without any recognition and he’s stuck it out and done a great job.”
But the Lone Pine Christmas Parade is about more than just celebrating the town’s unsung heroes; it’s about community. That’s why New and the Chamber are inviting everyone to participate.
“If you want to be in the parade, all you have to do is show up,” New said. “We have everything from horses to pets and floats. It’s all about our community.”
Following the parade, families with youngsters are invited to head over to the VFW Hall, where Santa Claus himself will have an open ear for anyone who wants to tell him their Christmas wish list.

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