Grand Marshals

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The Grand Marshals of the 2011 Persimmon Festival Parade are Jimmie Zeeks and Larry Caudell. Zeeks, who died in the line of duty, will be represented by his wife, Myra.

Larry Hardman, Chairman of the 65th annual Persimmon Festival, said he chose Caudell and Zeeks to represent the sacrifices firefighters make and the service they provide. The Persimmon Festival Theme is “To Protect and Serve”, and it will honor firefighters.

Zeeks was serving as the Fire Chief of the Marion Township Volunteer Fire Department when he collapsed of a heart attack at the scene of a car crash on August 15, 2009, and died a short time later.

Caudell spent many years overseeing operations with the Mitchell Fire Department. He retired from the department in 2006 after 32 years of service, 22 years of which he served as Chief.

“After Jimmie died, I got to thinking about volunteer firefighters,” Hardman said. “I’ve known Jimmie and Larry all my life. Volunteer firefighters do a lot in the community. If you go there, you’ll see it’s a family-type of atmosphere because it is like one big family. What can be better for the community than this type of relationship? I just want to thank them for taking care of our community like they do.”

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