PARA Announces Grand Marshals of the West Alabama Christmas Parade Featured

PARA Announces Grand Marshals of the West Alabama Christmas Parade PARA

Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority announces the selection of Grand Marshals of the 41st Annual West Alabama Christmas Parade sponsored by PARA. They are two individuals who have made a significant impact and contribution to the area: Sandra Baker, who worked in the Tuscaloosa County Public Defender’s Office for decades, and Rev. David E. Gay, Jr., pastor of Beulah Baptist Church.

“The historical listing of Grand Marshals is a testament to the leadership and volunteerism found in our community,” said Becky Booker, parade chairperson. “It is always a pleasure to read the nominations of additional names to add to the listing.”

The criteria for grand marshals included significant community contributions, lifetime achievements with a lasting community impact and career accomplishments.

About Sandra Baker

Sandra Baker worked as administrative assistant and client services coordinator for the Tuscaloosa County Public Defender’s Office for 39 years. She is a charter member of PRIDE (Parent Resource Institute for Drug Education) in Tuscaloosa and helped form one of the first community service groups for youthful offenders, allowing them to complete community service work as part of clearing their case for minor drug and alcohol charges.

Baker has also worked with several non-profit organizations as a board member of volunteer. She worked with the Easter Seals West Alabama Mall Ball for 15 years, the Phoenix House Western Gala, the advisory board and as president for A Woman’s Place – helping to raise funds for the organization when it was set to close. She served on the PRIDE board of directors for over 30 years, the West Alabama Aids Outreach board of directors and “Chair–ity” fundraiser.

Baker was awarded the Liberty Bell Award by the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association as a non-lawyer who has helped the law profession. She received the University of Alabama Social Work Award as a non-social worker who has worked with individuals in a social work situation. She received the Community Service Award and Gold Award from Easter Seals Alabama.

About David E. Gay, Jr.

David E. Gay, Jr. has an outstanding record of public service and community service. He is currently pastor of Beulah Baptist Church and he serves as the homeless program coordinator for the Tuscaloosa Veterans Administration Hospital.

A lifelong resident of Tuscaloosa, Gay is a graduate of Druid High School. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Alabama and Christian Life School of Theology in Atlanta.

Gay was the first African American CEO of Bryce Hospital and Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility and received numerous awards for his work in the mental health field.

Gay is a retired military officer, having served 27 years. During his service, he rose to the rank of major in the Alabama National Guard.

Gay’s community service includes United Way of West Alabama, Temporary Emergency Services, Stork’s Nest, American Red Cross, Family Counseling of West Alabama and others. He was featured in Jet Magazine as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Man of the Year. He was awarded a Governor’s proclamation for his work in mental health.

The theme for the December 5 parade is “Home for the Holidays.” The evening kicks off with the Christmas Tree Lighting on the steps of the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse at 5:15 p.m. followed by the parade at 6:30 p.m. The parade route travels downtown Tuscaloosa from Greensboro Avenue to University Blvd. PARA is now accepting parade entries for the Christmas Parade and the deadline for late entries will be accepted through November 18 with an additional $15 fee.  More parade information is available by visiting

Parade sponsorship and costume sponsorship is available by contacting Becky Booker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 205-562-3220.

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.


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