My older daughter Shirley, middle daughter Candace (Courtney and Kendall's Mommy), my youngest daughter Sarah and her boyfriend Taylor, my granddaughter Courtney and I were getting excited about the parade. I didn't know what to expect, I couldn't recall ever being to a parade before, I have always watched them on
television. Courtney was the Grand Marshall meaning that her float was the leading float, the first, even before the Mayor of the city.
The float we were on was simply decorated, no special theme. This was a very special float not like the others in the parade at all. This float would not win any awards for its beautiful lights or outstanding decorations. There was a banner on the front of the truck that pulled the float and another on the back of the trailer that proclaimed " Cure SMA". This float represented one thing only, love. Love from a bunch of volunteer fire fighters for a little red headed girl with a terminal illness.
As I looked up at the star on Courtney's float that fire fighter Joel Ferguson had put up the night before I recalled his comment to me as he was testing the lights on it while Sarah and I were there helping decorate the float. He said "Courtney has to have a star because she is our little star". Courtney had her very own star, on her very own float leading the parade, Courtney's parade, that the City of South Houston's Volunteer Fire Department had made possible for her to be in.
The parade theme was Super Hero's this year. Although we didn't see too many super heroes in costume's or floats decorated in the super hero theme there were plenty of super hero's all around. We saw our super hero Fire Dept. Captain Daniel Olivo racing back and forth in his little golf cart taking time to stop and check in on us each time he passed by. There was another of our super hero's Joel Ferguson and his lovely wife Karen, each of them also rushing around but still taking time to check up on us. I could not even imagine what all they had to do to insure that everything in the parade would go smoothly. Another of our super hero's Fire Chief Garcia, he stopped by several times as well to keep us updated on the parade's progress and to see if we needed anything. There were Fire Fighters from near by Pasadena, Police Officers, even Vietnam Vets. all surrounding us.
For Courtney's safety we all agreed that there should not be any candy thrown from her float because of the crowd rushing too close to her. The streets were lined with people looking at Courtney's float, the children holding out their bags anticipating candy to be thrown. We all were waving at the crowd and I called out to them wishing them a "Merry Christmas". One man shouted "Cure SMA" as he thrust his arm high in the air with his hand held in a tight fist. Many applauded as we passed. Our little princess, our "Star" of the night, watched all the people as we passed them. We pointed out the people that were holding their pet dogs for her to look at. She loved seeing all the children waving at her and clapping their little hands to the tune of the Christmas carols that were blaring from our float. Candace and I would take turns holding Courtney's little hand up to wave at the crowd. After we got to the parking lot at the end of the parade route we got Courtney down off the float then went to stand in front of the stage to hear who the winners of the parade would be but Candace mostly just wanted for Courtney to see Santa coming to town. He arrived in a extra long limo. at the end of the parade. Right afterward Courtney fell fast asleep, she had such a busy evening.
All the Fire Fighters were on the stage with Capt. Daniel Olivo as he started to announce the parade winners then give the winners their trophies but first he introduced the Grand Marshall, Princess Courtney Rosas and our family to the crowd. I could not believer this great blessing taking place for Courtney. After Daniel had given all the awards he stopped speaking for a moment, cleared his throat and began talking again saying "and now we have a special award for our Grand Marshall, Courtney Rosas!” I started crying as Candace approached the stage to receive the plaque for Courtney. She hugged Daniel and returned to where our family was standing with a huge smile on her face. All I could think of was how precious Courtney is to me and how these wonderful people have gone out of their way to include her in their lives.
Our small town is mostly populated by Hispanics and not a wealthy city at all. We don't have a beautiful golf coarse, country club or blocks and blocks of new homes in large subdivisions. We are proud of our little city, just as it is. This parade brings the whole community together. The Fire Department consists of all volunteers, not the big city calendar model type’s at all. All the time and effort it takes to have this parade is done with volunteer hours. These people have regular jobs and families but take time to do this out of the goodness of their hearts. As I look back to last August when we first met these men, our super hero's, I am trying to imagine what must have been in their thoughts as they met us for the first time. What made these guys say “we will be there for you, always, just say it, whatever you need and we will take care of it"? These are real men with big hearts doing what they do best, caring for others. This is the stuff that real super hero's are made of.
This is dedicated to all who worked so hard to make the parade a wonderful success, families, friends, city employees, schools, volunteers, all working together, all one community.