Marion resident Melvin Honeyfield, longtime employee of this newspaper, got involved with planning Florence Labor Day festivities over 15 years ago, and this year he was honored as the event’s grand marshal.
After riding through the parade in an ATV with his beloved great-niece, Corin Parmley, seated next to him, Honeyfield recalled joining the event planning committee.
“I remember I had gone down to participate in the Mountain Man black powder shoot,” Honeyfield said. “The next year I helped with the car show and they said I just as well be on the committee.”
Every year he has volunteered, Honeyfield has thrown himself wholeheartedly into planning the event. Donating countless hours of his time, he came to feel a sense of duty in preserving the town tradition.
“Every year I keep saying it’s going to be my last year,” Honeyfield said. “It’s a tough deal to plan, but I enjoy it.”
Planning committee member Mary Jane Grimmett said, “We won’t let him go.”
His niece Melissa Parmley said, “He just can’t say no. He has giving spirit, and just wants to see this event continue.”
Honeyfield was happy to see that the parade crowd was larger than last year. He values the Florence community, and appreciates the work Florence Fire Department does for the event, he said. He also has liked seeing younger volunteers like Parmley, Melanie and Tyson Grimmett, and others help with the event.
“I like seeing it come together,” he said. “There are a lot of good people that help put this on.”
Honeyfield’s ties to Florence extend beyond the Labor Day event. He is a member of Florence Masonic Lodge, and is active in Florence Chamber of Commerce and other community events.