Big Bear Lake’s parade welcomes military

U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Megan Crusher

Col. David Pavey, director of staff, Headquarters 4th Air Force, was featured during the Old Miner’s Day Parade, at Big Bear Lake, June 13.

The parade is the longest running community event in the city, bringing members of the local area together to celebrate the city’s heritage and recognize its members and local military, said Gloria Meade, parade chair.

This was the second year Pavey rode in a red corvette and represented March Air Reserve Base during the annual event.

“The Big Bear community has been so supportive of us,” Pavey said. “They’re a very patriotic community, and on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day they’ve had great programs to honor our veterans and fallen.”

In addition to Pavey’s attendance, the color guard from the 916th Sustainment Brigade, National Training Center, Fort Irwin, marched in the parade. They were followed by a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), commonly known as the Humvee, occupied by their Commander, Col. Matthew Ruedi, and Command Sgt. Maj. Sean Rice.

Like Pavey, Rice praised the significant local support received from the area.

“This is the second year we’ve participated,” said Rice. “We have a great relationship with the community up here.”

The United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Barstow Marine Corps Logistics Base, was also represented by four of its members riding horses during the parade.

Marine Sgt. Terry Barker is new to the unit and reaffirmed how accommodating the community is.

“As someone new, it was amazing to see people’s reaction, he said. “It’s been an awesome experience.”

In addition to the military services, the local city council members rode in the parade, as well as members of the California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Rangers, San Bernardino County Fire, Marine Corps League Detachment 1038, Boy Scouts Troop 49 and the American Legion. From the entertainment industry, TV stars, Richard Moll from “Night Court” and Misty Rowe, from “Hee Haw” also participated.

The parade route was shorter than usual due to road construction, but was still a great success, Meade said.

“It was fabulous,” she said. “I’m so glad everyone had such a good time.”

After the parade the service members were invited to the American Legion for a free barbeque, alongside other veterans and retirees. 

“It was wonderful and these people are so genuine and warm,” Pavey said. “This is a very close-knit community and you can see by the display here that the people appreciate living here and appreciate each other.”