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Dixon 'shocked' to be named grand marshal
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Rincon Lions Club Christmas Parade
• When: Saturday, 10 a.m.
• Where: Rincon
• About: Parade forms at Macomber Park, goes down Lexington Avenue, then to 4th Street and then to Columbia Avenue. The band from the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot at Parris Island, S.C., is expected to take part.

As she prepares to ride off into the sunset from her role as United Way of Effingham County executive director, Bonnie Dixon will climb aboard a red Mustang convertible for her ride in the Rincon Lions Club Christmas Parade.

The annual parade will be held Saturday morning in Rincon, with Dixon as the grand marshal.

“I was shocked. I never even dreamed anybody like this would ask me,” Dixon said of her selection to lead the parade. “That’s one thing you can put on your bucket list, was grand marshal of a parade. It is an honor.”

The United Way and the Lions Club have had a long relationship, particular in the organization’s mission to provide eye care to children.

“The Lions Club does great work and here at the United Way, we refer to them often to help children with eyeglasses and eye exams,” Dixon said.

The United Way and the Lions Club also are exploring how the club can be a partner in the Two Rivers Health Clinic, a free health care outlet for eligible residents of Effingham, for vision services.

“We’re hopeful that will launch early in 2016,” Dixon said.

To Dixon, the honor of being grand marshal is not just in recognition of her 25 years leading the United Way in Effingham County but of what the organization has done in the community.

“It’s an honor to have people recognize what United Way has done in the community and the services it has brought,” she said. “I truly believe United Way has helped make Effingham County stronger in social services.”

Without the United Way, Dixon said, there would not be programs for homeless families, a health clinic nor an adult literacy program.

“What United Way’s role is to pull together the partners and the community and the collaboration because we recognize that not one entity can do everything,” she said. “Instead, it’s the whole village that comes together to provide these services. We have some awesome partners here in the community who have the vision for making Effingham County families stronger through the support of social services.”

Dixon will be joined on the parade route by her three grandchildren, whose first question about riding with her was — “do we get candy?” she said. “I’ll wave, and they’ll throw candy.”

As her time with the United Way draws to a close at the end of next month, Dixon is glad her family will get to share in this accolade.

“I’m looking forward to the fun and the excitement and seeing everybody along the parade route,” she said. “I think it will be a great experience and one my family will remember. In this opportunity, I get to share it with my grandchildren, and I think that’s pretty special.”