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Richardson to be parade grand marshal

A Brookhaven man involved in many community activities has beenchosen as the next in line for one of the city’s most distinguishedannual Christmas traditions.

Homer Richardson was picked to be this year’s grand marshal forthe 2007 Christmas Parade because of his involvement with thecommunity in the 18 years he’s lived here, said Rita Rich, paradechairwoman.

“I chose Homer because of what he’s contributed to Brookhavenand Lincoln County since he retired here in 1989 with wife Lynn,”she said. “He’s been very active and has contributed greatly to thecommunity and to Lincoln County.”

Richardson said he never thought he would be in theconsideration for such an honor, but he is happy to serve as arepresentative for the community’s holiday spirit.

“The people who have been grand marshal before, I have greatrespect for,” he said. “I know them and have known them and Ireally feel it’s an honor to be in that group. These are peoplethat have had the community in mind and who well represent thiswonderful community we live in.”

Rich said the civic mind is one asset she looks for in selectinga grand marshal each year.

“We try to choose individuals that have contributed to thecommunity, and as such we’ve had great grand marshals,” she said.”We had (late Brookhaven Mayor) Doug Sullivan last year, and likehim, we choose people who have worked and made Brookhaven a betterplace and who demonstrate the spirit of Christmas.”

Brookhaven has always been a perfect match for Richardson, hesaid, and that is part of the reason he’s been able to give so muchto the town.

“I spent nearly two years looking for where we wanted to retireto, and I looked from Virginia over to Texas,” he said. “We knew wewanted to be somewhere in the South, so we started looking in theMississippi and Alabama area. We got here and found the town to bea super place.”

Because of that, Richardson said, he never wants to leave thecity he’s learned to love so much.

“Unless something very odd happens along the way, this is thelast place I hope to be,” he said. “The community is so receptive,and the enthusiasm of people for taking care of things, whether itbe their homes, the community or each other is the thing that hasimpressed me most.”

Rich said as a major part of his duties, Richardson will beallowed to just sit back and bask in his glory as grand marshal ofthe parade.

“He’ll just get to enjoy the festivities,” she said. “We have adinner for what I call the dignitaries, and of course, he’ll havethe prominent position in the parade.”

And there’s nothing like Brookhaven’s parade, Richardsonsaid.

“I have to say it’s what I call the epitome of small townparade, because there are almost as many people in it as there arewatching,” he said. “Over the last few years, our retirementcommittee at the chamber have put together this little thing calledthe Lawn Chair Brigade and us retirees march with our lawn chairsand when the band stops we sit down and sing ‘Jingle Bells.’ It’sthe fun of the thing, it’s the bands, the horses and the firetrucks. It’s just a lot of fun.”

During his time in Brookhaven, Richardson has been active in theCamellia society, the Great American Cleanup, the Lawn ChairSociety and the Southwest Mississippi Amateur Radio Club amongother organizations.