By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE November 29, 2005 Not everybody gets a parade named after them.
But James Dworetsky wasnt just anybody.
I worked with Jimmy on fire calls, ambulance calls . . . he was very special, said Sue Bodenstein, a member of the seven-person committee that puts together the start to the holiday season in Jeffersonville.
Every year for more than a decade, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, firefighters and ambulance corps members, business owners and Girl Scouts . . . theyve all been lining up to parade down the main drag of Jeffersonville in memory of one of the countys greats.
The James Dworetsky Holiday Parade is perhaps the biggest event of the season faithful onlookers know to head to town at least an hour before kickoff to find a parking spot and a seat right on the edge of the sidewalk.
This year, there were 24 fire departments, three ambulance corps and 15 community groups throwing candy, rockin around their Christmas trees and spreading holiday cheer.
Its primarily a parade of firefighters with community, Bodenstein said. A lot of the older firemen do it because they remember Jim . . . were trying to bring people back to the reason we do it.
Bodenstein doesnt remember the exact details of the original event shes been on the committee for just two years.
Committee Chairman Bill Thony, a former Jeffersonville fireman, was a driving force behind the parade, she remembers.
And, of course, there was Jimmy.
The former chief of the Youngsville Fire Department was sick when they were planning the first holiday parade.
He died on November 25, 1995 two days after Thanksgiving, one day after the first annual holiday parade.
But the parade is still going. Its now in its 11th year, and its focused on the children and the community ... and, of course, Jim.
His mom, Laura Dworetsky, follows tradition leading the parade down Main Street each year.
And after every float and fire truck has made its way down the street, the children gather in the firehouse to snuggle on Santas lap and whisper their secret wishes in his ear, accepting a gift from the parade committee and a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
Its a tradition that brought out first-timers like Maxwell Ebert, just 2 months old and in town with mom Amanda to sleep through the parade cuddled in grandpa Les Bogerts arms.
And it brought out the old-timers folks who said theyve never missed a parade.
Jim was very special, very community-minded, Bodenstein repeated. He wanted to do it for the community, for the kids, for everyone to enjoy the holiday time.