NOLANVILLE — A nervous Monica Skelton, the court clerk in Nolanville and one of the three planners responsible for the First Responders Parade on December 16, watched the dark skies with an uneasy gaze as light intermittent rain began to fall during the final minutes prior to the noon starting time.
The rain ended as quickly as it started and like magic, the parade began to roll on the dot at noon led by a unit of the Nolanville Police Department.
Skelton’s assistants, Officer Michael Hatton and Misha Johnson, breathed a sigh of relief as the rain took a respite just long enough for the parade to wind down in front of Cavazos Elementary School.
“It was still cloudy and cold but a large host of the city’s residents wrapped up and lined the two-mile-long parade route along Main Street, making its way down North 10th Street,” Hatton said.
Along the parade route was Katie Guzman, who said her children Audrey, 2, and Addison, 5, had never been to a parade.
“They’re loving it and especially the candy,” she said.
The 23 entries provided entertainment for all ages and candy, too.
City Manager Kara Escajeda said, “This is the largest we’ve had so far with a very diverse group of people entering the parade.”
Some of the entries included several units of the all-volunteer Central Bell County Fire and Rescue, the First Cavalry Horse Detachment from Fort Hood, bicycle groups, dancers and the Horse and Mule Club.
They were joined by the So Poly Dancers, First United Methodist Church of Nolanville, Expendable Motorcycle Group of Fort Hood, Nolanville Cowboy Football, Fort Hood Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade (the city’s military partnership unit), Acadian EMS, Rancier Middle School Band, Nolanville Lions Club, Cavazos Elementary Student Council, Lilly Hasana Korean Dancers, Dr. Doug Foster Personal Vet Care, Disabled American Veterans (Chapter 22), Project HERO of Fort Hood, King of the Mountain Bike Shop, Nolanville Elementary PTA and the Youth Advisory Council.
Also riding in the parade were Mayor Christina Rosenthal, Mayor Pro Tem George French III and Council members James Lynn Bilberry, Lawrence “Butch” Reis and Joan Hinshaw.
Escajeda said, “This is the first time we’ve had a band in the parade. We’ve hit the big time now!”
Several riders on horseback included Escajeda, Police Chief Daniel Porter along with KCEN-TV Chief Meterologist Andy Andersen and some of his fellow members of the Bell County Sheriff’s Posse.
Andersen said, “When I found out this parade was for first responders, I thought it was a good idea that the Sheriff’s Posse make an appearance. We went ahead and suited up in our uniforms, tacked out the horses and joined in.”
Concerning the parade in their honor, a first responder and fire department lieutenant said, “It was awesome seeing the kids light up when they saw a firetruck. Having the kids smile makes our jobs worth it.”
Police Chief Daniel Porter said, “This parade is part of a wonderful situation that exists in Nolanville, where the community shows support for police, firefighters and paramedics.”
As the parade passed by, resident Michael Morales stood on the sidewalk in front of his home with his wife, Michelle, and their two children.
Morales said, “The kids loved the horses, vehicles, lights and sirens.”