Tom Brubaker can aptly be described as Pickerington's "man about town."
At 86, he's lived in the community for all but his first four years, moving from Columbus as a small child.
With so many years in town, Brubaker has been involved in just about every kind of community-related activity and project, giving both his time and expertise.
Pickerington Lions Club officials said it is for those reasons Brubaker has been chosen as the grand marshal of the Pickerington Lions Club's annual Labor Day parade, set Sept. 1.
An active member of the Pickerington Lions Club for 59 years, Brubaker has served the community in many other ways.
He was a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician for the Violet Township Fire Department for 34 years and also volunteered with the Pickerington Police Department, serving as a staff photographer for several years. He also worked as a marketing and customer service supervisor for AEP for more than 30 years.
Brubaker served on Pickerington Village Council and as Pickerington's mayor in 1971. He also is a past president of the Pickerington Senior Center and has been a member of the Aladdin Temple Shrine for more than 50 years.
A U.S. Army veteran, Brubaker had the honor of being chosen as grand marshal of Pickerington's Fourth of July Parade in 2011 as well.
He said he looks forward to fulfilling the same role in the Labor Day parade.
"This kind of comes as a surprise to me since I never expected to be chosen a second time," said Brubaker.
The Pickerington Lions Club strives to be of service to the community, a mission that resonates with Brubaker.
"Our main projects involve the care (of) and helping out the blind and (sight) impaired. But we also get involved in helping diabetes problems and other community projects," said Brubaker.
He said he is particularly proud of his involvement in helping to build the shelter house in Victory Park years ago.
Brubaker said a lot has changed over the years, from the time he was a 1946 graduate of Pickerington High School with only 17 classmates to when he was mayor more than 40 years ago.
"Pickerington was such a small community when I was mayor; everyone knew what was going on. It was a village of 800 people -- now it's a city of almost 20,000," said Brubaker.
Despite the growth, he said the community still retains a lot of its small-town charm.
"I like its friendliness. It's neighborly and it's quiet. It still is quiet where I live," he said.
The Labor Day festivities are important to Brubaker and he said he is proud to be associated with such an enduring event.
"There are a lot of fun activities. I have worked the Labor Day festivities quite a number of years, but I have not been active for a while. I'm looking forward to being in the parade -- but I'm not going to walk, that's for sure," said Brubaker.
Brubaker and his wife, Lovetta, have been married for 45 years. He is the stepfather of two daughters. The Brubakers are grandparents of eight, great-grandparents of one and great-great grandparents of two.
The Pickerington Lions Club 66th annual Labor Day parade and fish fry will take place Sept. 1. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Pickerington High School Central.
The parade will head left onto Lockville Road, left on East Columbus Street and left on Hill Road South.
Brubaker and other dignitaries will be honored in Victory Park for the opening ceremony following the parade. The fish fry then will begin in the park and run until around 4 p.m.
Entertainment in Victory Park will be provided by DJ Chuck Steel. The Pickerington North and Central bands will perform a joint concert after the parade.
The lineup for the parade begins at 8:30 a.m. Cash prizes will be given out to the best-looking entries based upon overall appearance and attention to theme in both commercial and non-commercial categories.
To register for the parade, call Cherie Koch at 614-837-8810.
For more information, visit the Pickerington Lions Club website, PickeringtonOH.Lionwap.org.