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Purcell 'honored' to lead parade
Middleground Detour POV
Above, the parade route is in green and the detour for passenger vehicles is in yellow. The Rincon Fourth of July Parade begins at 10 a.m. Highway 21 will be shut down at 9:45 a.m. Saturday and remain closed to through traffic for 10-20 minutes following the parades conclusion.

Ann Purcell is used to being in the Rincon Fourth of July Parade, walking all over the streets, shaking hands and waving to people.

Saturday, she’ll fight the urge to do that. It may be a losing struggle from her perch as the parade’s honoree.

Parade organizers have chosen Purcell, the former longtime state lawmaker, as the Freedom Rings Parade honoree. The parade begins at 10 a.m., launching from Macomber Park.

“I was completely caught off-guard,” Purcell said of being named parade honoree, “but delighted that the mayor and city council and others had asked me to lead the parade. I feel I’m leading it because of the people I love and I have served in the past as a state representative and continue serve on the state transportation board. I am honored to be able to be to continue to serve.”

Purcell used to own convertibles, simply to have for use in parades. But she spends most of her time in a parade mingling with the crowd and not sitting in a car.

“It turned out I never rode in those,” she said, “so we wound up getting rid of them.”

After years of interacting with the crowd in an up-close fashion, Purcell is questioning if she can keep herself seated in a car for the entire parade.

“I keep asking myself, ‘am I going to have a problem staying in the car?’” she said. “Will I continue to get out? I may do a combination of both. It’s hard to be still when you have such wonderful people along the parade route. You want to be closer to them.”

Purcell received a bachelor of arts from Georgia Southern and worked as a teacher and an office manager. She served in the General Assembly in 1991-2005. She was then appointed to the Technical College System of Georgia state board and was re-elected to the state House of Representatives in 2009.

During her second stint under the Gold Dome, Purcell chaired the committee on human relations and aging. She was also vice-chair of the government affairs committee and served on appropriations, higher education, economic development and tourism, health and human resources and education committees.

Purcell currently serves as the 1st Congressional District representative on the state transportation board.

Locally, Purcell also serves on the Effingham County Adult Literacy Advisory Committee and the Effingham County American Cancer Society board of directors. A life member of the Georgia Salzburger Society, she is also a published genealogist.

She is also a member of the Georgia Historical Society, Rotary, the Effingham Chamber of Commerce and the Effingham YMCA, and she is an honorary member of the Georgia Sheriffs Association and an honorary state trooper with the Georgia State Patrol.

She and her husband Dr. Dent Purcell have three children and eight grandchildren.

Purcell’s father was an elected official in Tattnall County for 32 years.

“Once you have it in your blood to help individuals out – I grew up in a family that has always been involved in the community — that grows on you,” she said. “It’s something that was instilled in me. I am honored I am able to do that, hopefully in return to our community. I enjoy getting out and working and I don’t mind giving my opinion.”

Ann and Dent Purcell also are known to ride motorcycles, so they very well could be on two wheels instead of four Saturday morning.

“One never knows about the two of us what you might see us on,” she said.