Ex-Charger John Carney selected as parade grand marshal
By Emily Sorensen
Plans for the Poway Days Parade, now in its 48th year, are moving forward in a positive way with the selection of the grand marshal and honorary grand marshal. The parade will be held this year Saturday, Sept. 8.
This year’s theme is “Always Positive in Poway,” and reflects the Poway Community Association’s partnership with the Always Positive foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that seeks “to inspire people to be positive and motivate them to do something positive,” according to Bob Rusch, co-founder of Always Positive. The parade will be followed by a food-packing event, organized by Rusch and Always Positive.
In reflecting the theme and partnership, this year’s grand marshal is former Charger John Carney, co-founder of Always Positive and one of San Diego’s favorite athletes. Carney played with the Chargers for 11 seasons, from 1990 – 2000, and is the team’s all-time leading scorer, with 2,062 points. He was named to the Chargers 50th Anniversary Team in 2009.
Always Positive isn’t Carney’s first experience with charity, as he served with “Kick Start for Kids” for 10 years, raising over $1 million so children with physical deformities can have plastic surgery. When he signed with the New Orleans Saints, he brought “Kick Start for Kids” with him, and held a holiday shoe-shopping event for underprivileged youngsters called “John Carney’s Holiday Kicks for Kids,” and also teamed up with Catholic Charities for a Superdome sock drive benefiting the homeless.
The parade’s honorary grand marshal is Phil Harris, the founder and director of Family and Friends Community Connection. Harris has spent the last two decades serving the community with his organization, F&FCC, which has mobilized faith and community organizations to work together to provide free services and support programs for disadvantaged children, youth, adults, seniors and families in San Diego County.
“He’s like a real-life angel,” said Alexis Belway of the Poway Community Association.
The parade is also still looking for entries and sponsorships. “I want to invite community businesses, nonprofits, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, anyone and everyone to participate,” said Belway. The PCA has made it easy to sign up to participate this year, by putting the forms on their website. The PCA is also still looking for sponsors, which has the added bonus this year of providing meals to be packed at the post-parade food-packing event.
The food-packing event is a new aspect to the parade this year, and is being held directly after the parade ends, at 11 a.m. A location has not been firmly settled as of yet. “Our cause this year is to give back to the community,” said Belway.
Always Positive hopes to pack between 200,000 and 250,000 meals between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the event. These meals will be distributed to food banks and in times of disaster, with one-third going to San Diego food banks, and two-thirds being sent nationally and overseas.
Additionally, Poway Youth Soccer has taken on the task of selling Always Positive wristbands, to raise money to buy meals for packing. The wristbands are $10, which will buy 20 meals. Part of the proceeds will go toward meals, and another will benefit the Poway Youth Soccer’s scholarships, which they distribute yearly to allow kids who can’t afford to play soccer. Poway Youth Soccer will also be holding their own food-packing event Sunday, Sept. 30 at Poway High School.
For more information and entry forms for the Poway Days Parade, visit powayca.org.
For more information on Always Positive and parade sponsorship, visit www.alwayspositive.org/events or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on how to buy a wristband, contact email@example.com.
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