August 12, 2020 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Voges urges St. Joseph residents to celebrate America

World War II veteran Bruce Voges loves America.

When he told his kids he wanted to have a Fourth of July parade in St. Joseph they knew they had to make it happen.

“My first response would be echoed by my brothers, Mike and Tim,” said Bruce’s daughter Michele Voges-Lawhead. “If Dad thinks it’s a good idea, then it’s a good idea and we’re going to help make it happen.”

And happen it will, tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

The parade will start at Hackler Park. Anyone wanting to participate should be at the park by 9:20 a.m.

The parade will travel down Sherwood to Grand Avenue to Seventh Street. They will then travel on Bluestem to Balsam and back to the Park.

The family is asking residents to participate on bikes, golf carts, vehicles or by walking.

They are also urging participants to socially distance and wear a mask if they are unable to socially distance while participating in the parade or watching along the route.

“He hoped to bring joy to others,” Voges-Lawhead said. “He values our little town of St. Joseph and thinks our community will enjoy having a parade to celebrate our pride in America and to give thanks.”

The Fourth of July has always met a lot to the Voges family.

“He has passionately celebrated the Fourth of July for many of his decades,” said Voges-Lawhead. “Get-togethers at our home were tradition. Family and friends of friends were all welcomed by my parents to a huge annual cookout. He was famous for his fireworks finale at the end of the evening.”

A few months ago Voges said he wanted to celebrate, not only America, but also healthcare workers and first responders and their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This idea became a common theme,” said Voges-Lawhead.

Voges suggested the parade include the St. Joseph-Ogden Marching Band, sports teams, local American Legion groups and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts but he has accepted that the first year may be a little smaller.

“In spite of Dad’s initial desire to shoot for the moon and include many, many people in the parade he now recognizes the need to scale things back, for this year,” Voges-Lawhead said. “But he truly hopes this will become a longstanding tradition in St Joe. At the age of 94, we have our fingers crossed that he will enjoy several more parades with us.”

Voges- Lawhead said the family is hopeful that people will participate and honor those that have sacrificed for the country while celebrating the positive.

“I believe we have a truly special community,” she said. “It has been inspiring to see everyone pulling together in various ways over the past several challenging months. But I also see many people and families safely out and about on bikes, taking walks and cruising on their golf carts and more recently dining in the streets. Like my Dad, I value our small-town roots. Parades have been a part of our traditions in St. Joe as long as I can remember. They unite us and we are reminded of how fortunate we are to live here. It is an important day to celebrate our community and our country.”

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