By Doug Schroder

Gazette/Tempo Editor

So, last week I was thinking of a different way to cover the upcoming Fourth of July Parade taking place in Winnebago. I had covered various parades in the communities my newspapers serve before, usually finding a good spot along a street on the parade route. At the Memorial Day Parade in Pecatonica this past May I rode along in the parade on the PECUMC wagon. What could I do to top that? Maybe ride in a fire truck?

I called Win-Bur-Sew Fire Chief on Sunday, July 3, asking if I could ride on one of the fire trucks for the parade. He wasn’t sure, but told me to see him the next morning before the parade started.

I showed up about a half hour before the parade’s 10 a.m. start on Monday, July 4. Upon finding Chief Martin, he set me up to ride on Win-Bur-Sew Fire Engine No. 1901 with Lt. Chuck Meyers and Fire Fighter Operator Mike Marsh.

After hopping on board just prior to the parade start, Lt. Meyers told me to buckle up, as safety is always a concern stressed by Chief Martin. Usually ride-a-longs are not allowed, but they made an exception in this case. Lt. Meyers informed me how the Chief reviewed parade safety plans twice that morning, once with members of his force, and then again with other fire protection districts in the parade.

Right from the start of the parade I noticed how receptive the crowd was to the fire trucks. I never waved so much in my life! Lt. Meyers gave me a bag of candy to throw out. Between waving, throwing out candy, and taking pictures, it was a busy hour-or-so for me!

The weather made for a great day and the streets on the parade route were packed. I ran out of candy about two thirds of the way through. That’s when I took some video. The video can be viewed on our Win-Du-Pec Facebook page.

So far with this job I have driven a Ferrari on a racetrack, rode with the US Army Golden Knights parachute team on one of their jumps, and gone for a ride in a Delorean. Now I can add rode in a fire truck to that list.

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(L-R) Fire Fighter Operator Mike Marsh and Lt. Chuck Meyers pose for a picture in Win-Bur-Sew Fire Engine No. 1901 after finishing the parade route in Winnebago during the July 4th celebration this past Monday. DOUG SCHRODER PHOTO

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The Winnebago Fourth of July parade begins in this view taken from Win-Bur-Sew Fire Engine No. 1901. DOUG SCHRODER PHOTO

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