CENTERBURG — The parade committee of the Heart of Ohio USA Days has selected the 2013 Grand Marshal and parade theme. The theme will be “Volunteerism is the Heart of Our Community” and Candy McCracken will be the presiding Grand Marshal.
McCracken is no stranger to volunteering in Centerburg. In the 1970s she helped organize and promote “John Crum Week” which raised money to buy a handicapped van with lift for local teacher John Crum, after he was left a quadriplegic following a freak accident.
Through the Heart of Ohio Women’s Club she spearheaded the project to build the gazebo in the town park. She personally obtained many donations of materials and labor for the project and spent most evenings and weekends overseeing and taking part in details such as painting the structure. She unloaded a truckload of bricks in pouring rain at midnight to be ready for the brick layer the following morning. She had been told the gazebo would not be done in time for a July 4, 2000, dedication ceremony, but she made it happen anyway.
McCracken promotes, processes and emcees the annual Little Miss Liberty/Little Uncle Sammy each year since 2002.
She also researched, compiled, edited and wrote a book on the history of Centerburg which is now a fourth-grade textbook in Centerburg Elementary School.
Other Women’s Club activities she participates in are bake sales, Say Yes to the Dress prom giveaway, fundraisers for a handicapped boy, mural project, Santa breakfast, etc.
The local school is also dear to McCracken’s heart. She was co-chairman of the committee to promote the levy to build the new high school and auditorium. She has served the Centerburg Alumni Association for many years as both secretary and president.
McCracken personally took on a project to have all of the alumni composite class photos digitally restored, reframed in new matching frames and helped hang them in the new school building. This cost $250 per picture and she personally contacted many people who donated the needed funds. She also has planned and hosted many special events such as teacher and basketball team reunions.
She has served on the Oldtime Farm Festival Committee and spearheaded the 43011 event in 2011.
McCracken has been the secretary of the Heart of Ohio USA Days since its inception. She also is the Fundraising Chairperson, Entertainment Chairperson and Publicity Chairperson. She organizes the Donkey Basketball game as a fundraiser and personally solicits corporate sponsor donations annually which total more than half of the festival budget. She raises the amount annually, usually by $1000 and has more than doubled the donations since the beginning. She also organizes the Lucky Ducky race and emcees the various entertainment acts at the festival.
McCracken has also spearheaded a drive to raise funds to buy a local handicapped student a computer with many types of software, a benefit talent show for a co-worker with brain cancer, has served as a Sunday School Superintendent, Church Trustee, Pastor-Parrish Relations committee and Youth Advisor. She has also reported on many school board and village council meetings as well as writing numerous articles on events in the community and feature stories.
McCracken has the “Take the ball and run with it” attitude towards accomplishing goals and she says she is “honored, humbled and happy” to be named the Grand Marshal of 2013.
“It is nice to know my efforts have been recognized by the community. I love this community and school so much and it is my honor and duty to support it in any way I can,” she said.
Published on May 1, 2013