Students and parents from both Brinnon and Quilcene schools stand during the Pledge of Allegiance on Friday following the Loyalty Day Parade. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Students and parents from both Brinnon and Quilcene schools stand during the Pledge of Allegiance on Friday following the Loyalty Day Parade. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Hands on hearts: Loyalty Day Parade celebrates patriotism in Brinnon

Town highlights community spirit

BRINNON — Jefferson County Sheriff Joe Nole and Brinnon Citizen of the Year Beverly Clark led the way during the Loyalty Day Parade in Brinnon.

With big smiles and hundreds of small American flags, participants marched away from the Brinnon Booster Club and made two right-hand turns to get to Brinnon Lane, a 5 1/2-block walk that meant the world to the Veterans of Foreign Wars who hosted the event on Friday.

Students from both Brinnon and Quilcene schools, mostly elementary age, waved to onlookers along the parade route, although most of the approximately 200 people participated in the march.

Members of the Loyalty Day crowd sing along to “God Bless America” during the program that followed the parade on Friday in Brinnon. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Members of the Loyalty Day crowd sing along to “God Bless America” during the program that followed the parade on Friday in Brinnon. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

“It means a lot to our VFW guys to get to see how it impacts the kids,” said Ron Hough, the commander of VFW Post 10706 in Brinnon.

Hough, named the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for his work as a corrections officer at Jefferson County Jail, moved to the area with his wife, Amanda, three years ago.

Quilcene Elementary students wave flags along the parade route Friday during Loyalty Day in Brinnon. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Quilcene Elementary students wave flags along the parade route Friday during Loyalty Day in Brinnon. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Originally from Michigan and once stationed with the U.S. Army at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Hough served a 12-month deployment in Afghanistan. Friday was his second Loyalty Day Parade in the town where he and his family found affordable housing.

The Loyalty Day Parade featured several organizations, including the Dosey Dux, which supports Brinnon Schools students with Christmas wishes and scholarships, the Jefferson County Library, Rhody Fest royalty and the Brinnon Fire Department.

Boys and girls from Brinnon schools walk in the annual Loyalty Day Parade, which originated in 1921 and has been on the permanent calendar since 1958. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Boys and girls from Brinnon schools walk in the annual Loyalty Day Parade, which originated in 1921 and has been on the permanent calendar since 1958. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Jefferson County Assessor Jeff Chapman, county Treasurer Stacie Prada, county clerk Ruth Gordon and county commissioners Greg Brotherton and David Sullivan also marched in the parade.

The entertainment duo Kendra and Jim led a singing of “God Bless America,” and students from Brinnon Schools honored veterans with “Count on Me.”

Ernie Muir, a lifetime member of the Brinnon VFW Post who served in the Army in Vietnam in 1967-68, said the event is mostly for the kids.

Brinnon Citizen of the Year Beverly Clark got first-class treatment in a classic car near the front of the Loyalty Day Parade route Friday in Brinnon. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Brinnon Citizen of the Year Beverly Clark got first-class treatment in a classic car near the front of the Loyalty Day Parade route Friday in Brinnon. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

“That’s why each and every one of them gets a flag,” he said. “I don’t know if it will be today, but some day down the line they will remember this.”

The post recently was renamed for Kenneth Gaul, a 96-year-old man who fought in World War II, and has belonged to the VFW organization for 73 years, Muir said.

Quilcene Elementary teachers walk with their students and wave flags Friday during the Loyalty Day Parade in Brinnon.

Quilcene Elementary teachers walk with their students and wave flags Friday during the Loyalty Day Parade in Brinnon.

Muir, originally from St. Helens, Ore., once had a 37-foot Tollycraft he sailed up the West Coast to Pleasant Harbor. The second time he did it — about 20 years ago — he decided he wanted to retire in the area.

“Brinnon is a super community,” he said. “Everybody looks out for everybody else, and everybody volunteers for something around them.”

Quilcene Elementary students wave to the crowd toward the beginning of the Loyalty Day Parade route near the Brinnon Booster Club on Friday. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Quilcene Elementary students wave to the crowd toward the beginning of the Loyalty Day Parade route near the Brinnon Booster Club on Friday. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

The Loyalty Day Parade continues a community custom that started in 1921 and became a permanent addition to the Brinnon calendar in 1958, Muir has said.

Once Friday’s program wrapped up, each of the students was treated to an ice cream sandwich, and other participants retreated to the Brinnon Booster Club for a potluck lunch.

Brinnon Elementary students pass Corey Street on Schoolhouse Road to get to Brinnon Lane during the Loyalty Day Parade, which is about 5 1/2 blocks long. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Brinnon Elementary students pass Corey Street on Schoolhouse Road to get to Brinnon Lane during the Loyalty Day Parade, which is about 5 1/2 blocks long. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

“It’s good for the kids to get to know some of the local veterans they see around,” Hough said. “It gives them a little understanding of freedom.”

________

Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at bmclean@peninsuladailynews.com.

Students from Quilcene Elementary and other members of the crowd, including Jefferson County elected officials, listen to music from Kendra and Jim following the Loyalty Day Parade on Friday in Brinnon. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Students from Quilcene Elementary and other members of the crowd, including Jefferson County elected officials, listen to music from Kendra and Jim following the Loyalty Day Parade on Friday in Brinnon. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Teachers and students from Brinnon Schools laugh as they march from the start of the Loyalty Day Parade along Corey Street on Friday in Brinnon. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

Teachers and students from Brinnon Schools laugh as they march from the start of the Loyalty Day Parade along Corey Street on Friday in Brinnon. (Brian McLean/Peninsula Daily News)

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