Beneath the theme “Freedom Rings in Rincon,” two of the founders of the Fourth of July festivities in the city, Rachael Jackson and Frank Owens, were selected as this year’s parade honorees.
“I was overwhelmed,” said Jackson of when she was told of her honor. “I couldn’t believe it. I’m just a little country girl, and I just couldn’t believe that they would think about my in this way. I was thankful. I appreciate it immensely, but it was always my heart to have the parade. I think we need to do more for our country.”
“I mentioned something about it and then somebody said, ‘Oh, you were one of the co-founders,’” said Owens, “and I said, ‘You know, that sounds just like I volunteered myself to do this.’ Then I was embarrassed. I’ve put my foot in my mouth a lot of times, but this is one time that I can’t say I’m sorry I did it.
“It’s sort of an honor to be picked for something like this. I am honored; it is an honor.”
In 1992, Jackson and Owens collaborated to organize Rincon’s first Fourth of July Parade, with humble beginnings and a craft show following behind what is now the Dewitt building.
“There were oak trees to shade us,” said Jackson.
“It was still hot as blue blazes,” said Owens.
Jackson, who lived mostly in upstate New York until moving to Georgia in 1979, said she was baffled that she hadn’t seen an Independence Day parade in her new home and wanted to organize one to celebrate her country.
“I think both of us had the same thing in mind,” said Owens, “but didn’t know how to get it started. We found out that both of us had the same line of thinking.”
Jackson, who was also the first women member of the Rincon City Council, continued to work on the parade until she moved to Springfield in 2005, and Owens continues to help Fourth festivities planners.
“I’m telling you, it takes a lot from a lot of people,” said Owens, “and we only used to have a few. You didn’t know who to ask (to help).”
Owens has worked for Georgia Power, formerly Savannah Electric, for 41 years “with one to go,” he said, and Jackson worked intermittently at chain restaurants, though now she volunteers her time, especially at Manna House.
This year the “Freedom Rings in Rincon” events will begin with a festival in the Lowe’s parking lot July 1 from 6-10 p.m. There will be pie and watermelon eating contests, mobile video games, balloon animals, inflatables and the presentation of the Humanitarian Award recipients of 2011. Also, Jonathan Thompson of Effingham Theatre and the county’s favorite Brit, will be dressed as a Redcoat, taking pies to the face.
The Freedom Parade will be held July 2 beginning at 10 a.m. July 2.