U.S. Army veteran and former Pickerington mayor and city councilman Tom Brubaker has been selected to serve as the grand marshal of the annual July 4 parade.

U.S. Army veteran and former Pickerington mayor and city councilman Tom Brubaker has been selected to serve as the grand marshal of the annual July 4 parade.

On Monday, July 4, Pickerington and Violet Township will kick off their annual Independence Day celebration in Victory Park at 4 p.m.

The event will feature rides, concessions and live entertainment in the park until 11 p.m. It will be capped off with a fireworks display at approximately 10 p.m. Like last year, the city and township are sharing the costs of the $11,900 display, as well as the total cost of the day's events, which are estimated at $21,900.

At 6 p.m., another annual tradition will take place when the parade steps off from Pickerington High School Central, 300 Opportunity Way.

This year, Brubaker, who will turn 83 on July 18, will lead the parade as its grand marshal.

"I'm rather pleased and surprised," he said. "It's quite an honor."

Brubaker has lived in Pickerington since he was 4 years old, long before it became an official city and before development and population growth changed its landscape.

Over the years, he's been an active civil servant to both the city and his country.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1951 through 1953, and he was an emergency medical technician and firefighter for the Violet Township Fire Department for 34 years before he retired in 1987.

When Pickerington was still a village in the early 1960s, Brubaker was on the board of trustees of its public affairs board, which ran the village's water department.

"Those were the only facilities the village had at the time," he said.

His work on that board led Brubaker to a stint on Pickerington City Council, and he served part of a term as the city's mayor beginning in December 1971.

While he says he wasn't cut out for politics, Brubaker has been involved with numerous local community groups.

In addition to being a former photography specialist for the Pickerington Police Department, Brubaker is a past president of the Pickerington Senior Center, a member of the Aladdin Shrine Temple and he's been a member of the Pickerington Lion's Club for 51 years.

A 1946 graduate of Pickerington High School, Brubaker also has been voted an "Outstanding Alumnus" of the school.

"I'm quite proud of the city," he said.

Pickerington Mayor Mitch O'Brien said he recommended Brubaker to serve as the July 4 parade's grand marshal after having known him for many years.

O'Brien said he met Brubaker when they both served on the Pickerington Senior Center's Foundation Board years ago, and they continued to cross paths through community events and organizations.

"It didn't take me long to learn that Tom had dedicated over 55 years of his life to Pickerington and served the community from so many different perspectives that I lost count," O'Brien said. "Tom served as Pickerington's Mayor in 1971 and on council. In my conversations with the great people at the Lions Club, I learned that there has never been a call to public service that Tom has not answered.

"I think it is time for people like Tom to be recognized in any capacity available to us."

Brubaker said he regularly attends the local July 4 parade, but he's "never been grand marshal of anything."

He accepted the title only on the condition that his wife, Loretta, be permitted to join him.

"I'm not one to be out an in front, but I appreciate somebody in the community taking an interest in me," Brubaker said.

Although July 4 is fast approaching, city officials said there still are spots available in this year's parade for individuals, teams, service organizations, performing groups and antique cars and farm machinery. Attended pets may also "march."

Floats will be welcomed and prizes will be awarded to outstanding floats. Additional information about the parade and participating in this year's event can be obtained by calling the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department at (614) 833-2211.

However, the registration deadline for the parade is June 30.