When Betty Drake found out she, along with Dale Mohler, would be Grantsville’s grand marshals in this year’s Fourth of July parade, she was elated. Now, a different emotion is beginning to settle in as Independence Day nears.
“Well, it sounds good when they come and ask you,” Drake said. “You’re thrilled to death to be asked. And then, it gets closer and closer and you get more nervous.”
“That’s right,” Mohler said, with a chuckle.
Both Drake and Mohler are no strangers to the Fourth of July festivities in Grantsville. Drake was born in Reno, Nevada, but her family moved to Grantsville when she was 2 years old, while Mohler came to teach at Grantsville High School more than 50 years ago.
Drake said her family moved to Grantsville from Reno because they had a lot of family in the area. She said she still has lots of family in the area. About “half the town” are relatives, she joked.
During his years at Grantsville High, Mohler also coached several teams, including football, track and field, basketball and golf. He was also an instructor for the school’s driver’s ed program.
Now, both Mohler and Drake live at Diamond Jane’s Assisted Living, where they have rooms across the hall from each other. They reminisced about their time in Grantsville and connections to Fourth of July parades over the years.
Mohler said he’s been in Grantsville’s Fourth of July parade before, but can’t remember the exact context. He said his candy-throwing arm was pretty strong back in the day.
A U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, Mohler said he remembers seeing an Independence Day parade when he was about 5 years old in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and noticing soldiers and police officers saluting. He said he remembers wanting to salute with them, so he did.
“Fourth of July has always been something pretty important for me,” Mohler said.
When Drake was 4 years old, she said she was on a float built by her father with her sister and two other neighborhood kids. She even knew where the photo from that day was located. Drake said that over the years, the Fourth of July celebration in Grantsville has remained similar to the original event. She said the events in Grantsville are special because there aren’t many days like it, when the community is brought together by a city-sponsored event. Drake said everyone gets together and the streets are lined on the Fourth of July
“When you do things every year about the same, everyone feels good about it,” Drake said.
For both Mohler and Drake, who decided to call Grantsville home for the better part of their lives, it’s a community worth embracing
“I feel good about being in Grantsville,” Mohler said.