Volunteer of the Week: Max Sala, of Dowagiac
Max Sala, 67, of Dowagiac, is a longtime volunteer for the city of Dowagiac’s annual Candlelight Christmas Parade, which took place last Friday.
How long have you been volunteering with the parade?
I’ve been involved with the parade off and on for a number of years, maybe 20 or 25 years. I served as volunteer, and I’ve emceed it a couple of times. Then, Vickie [Phillipson] and Kim MacGregor with the chamber of commerce asked me to help out.
What are your responsibilities as a parade volunteer?
As the entries come in, I assign them spots where they will appear in the parade route. Then after you assign them spots, you have to assign them staging areas on streets other than Front Street. The last thing I do is provide the script, which is for our emcees, and the radio station uses it, too. We ask participants when they sign up to write what they would like to have said about them when they go by the parade stand, so I try to put that together so our emcees can have something to work with.
Why do you like to volunteer for the parade?
I think the parade is one of the neatest things that any small town could possibly have going for it. Whether I’ve been someone who has worked or just someone who stands there and watches it go by, it is one the greatest nights in Dowagiac for the entire year. It has become the place to be on the first Friday in December not only for many of our residents, but it has become a destination for people from outside the area, as well. … If your holiday season hasn’t already started, that parade will kick it off for you.
What is your favorite part about volunteering with the parade?
It’s just amazing how people come together for the good of the community here. Every town does that in their own way, and it’s just great to be a part of that.
Why do you feel volunteering at events like the parade is important to the community?
It’s for the welfare of the common good of the people who live and work here. If we don’t have people to step up and that occasionally, the city becomes one of those places where we get up in the morning to go to work and come at night. We need those kinds of things for our community to remain healthy. The nice thing about the parade is that it is for kids, but kids come in all ages, from 5 years old to 75 years old.
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