PARA Announces Grand Marshals for West Alabama Christmas Parade on Dec. 4

PARA Announces Grand Marshals for West Alabama Christmas Parade on Dec. 4 Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority

Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority announces the selection of four individuals as Grand Marshals of the 42nd Annual West Alabama Christmas Parade sponsored by PARA.

“The historical listing of Grand Marshals is a testament to the outstanding leadership and volunteerism found in our community,” reports Becky Booker, parade chairperson. “It is a pleasure to add additional names to the impressive historical listing each year. This year is no different; we are proud to announce four individuals who are servings as Grand Marshals of the 2017 parade. They are Virgie Greene, Rev. Thomas Linton, Shelley Jones and Dee Ward."

Criteria for Grand Marshal(s) nominations is as follows:
• Significant community contributions
• Lifetime achievements with a lasting community impact
• Career accomplishments

Virgie Greene, owner and operator of Creative Child Development Learning Center, is best known according to her nominations as a tireless behind the scenes worker and advocate for children. In addition to her many entrepreneurial accomplishments she serves multiple outreach programs of Bethel Baptist Church. She was presented with a key to the City from former Mayor Al DuPont as he named October 11 is Virgie Greene Day in Tuscaloosa. More recently she earned recognition as the “2017 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award” which recognizes leaders who give their time serving others but seldom seek the spotlight and given by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Tuscaloosa Chapter.

Rev. Thomas Linton, is the former pastor of Cumberland Presbyterian Church, current pastor of The Church of The Lord Jesus Christ and owner of Linton’s Barber Shop. He was active throughout his lifetime in the Civil Rights movement, working with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his barber shop is known to have played a role in significant local Civil Rights marches and events. He was a founding member of the Summer Youth (employment) Program, The Tuscaloosa Ministerial Alliance and Tuscaloosa Interracial Alliance.

Shelley Jones and Dee Ward were nominated together as co-founders of the Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre, where they have worked for more than 30 years to expose countless children from Tuscaloosa and surrounding counties to theatre arts. Jones is a former educator and has been recognized for her tireless community commitments as an inductee in the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame and Tuscaloosa Citizen of the Year. Ward is a former baseball booster and supporter and active in outreach programs of Forest Lake United Methodist Church.

For a complete listing of Grand Marshals from 1968, please visit

PARA invites the community to kick off of the holiday season with flair by attending PARA’s 42nd Annual West Alabama Christmas Parade on Monday, December 4. The Tree Lighting on the steps of the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse begins at 5:15 p.m. and the Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information visit

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