Washington’s Day parade grand marshal named

Former Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell was selected as grand marshal of the annual Greenport Fire Department Washington’s Day Parade in honor of his 18-year tenure with the town.

“It’s just one of the greatest honors I’ve had in a long time and to have that on my way out as supervisor is especially special to me,” Mr. Russell said.

The parade starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17. The long-running tradition, organized by the Greenport Fire Department, draws fire departments from across Long Island to Greenport Village. 

The parade makes its way along Front Street, treating  spectators to the sounds of bagpipes and sirens before ending at the firehouse.

Scott Russell (Nicholas Grasso photo)

Mr. Russell worked for a total of 33 years as a public servant in Southold Town Hall, 18 of those as supervisor, making him the longest-serving supervisor in the town’s history.

Mr. Russell said that “honored” doesn’t even begin to describe how he feels about having been selected.

“I actually got a call from one of the members who told me that I was selected to be grand marshal. It came out of the blue, I was completely shocked,” he said. “It was stunning to me. It sort of caught me off guard that, with so many great people that they honor each year, that they would have honored me.”

He said that fire departments are the most important organization in each hamlet. 

“Between the reliance that we have on them to protect property, houses and cars, and quite honestly, boats and things that are very dangerous, and of course our own lives,” he said. “Everybody has a story about the fire department helping them or a family member or a friend probably several times.”

Fire departments also enrich each hamlet with their iconic social events that they plan for the community, Mr. Russell added. 

“Whether it’s a barbecue in Cutchogue, a steak dinner in Southold, whether it is a parade in Greenport, they are the centerpiece of community activity,” he said. “The unity that these events bring together in each community, that’s going to be on full display and I’m going to have a metaphorical front-row seat seeing it.”

Mr. Russell urged the community to continue to support their local fire departments.

“These departments are facing expanded responsibilities every day, yet at the same time, struggling to get memberships,” he said. “It’s a real challenge and it’s going to become an even bigger challenge as this community’s needs evolve.”