Grand marshals Dale Collins, front seat, left, and Tom Wright, back seat, enjoy the ride in Jerry Williams' 1965 Ford Mustang while waving to people at Saturday morning's Frolic & Rodeo Grand Parade. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Riding in a 1965 Ford Mustang convertible, 77-year-old Dale Collins and 84-year-old Tom Wright relaxed while taking in the sights and sounds as the grand marshals of Saturday morning’s Philomath Frolic & Rodeo Grand Parade.

In a community that’s often referred to as the “City of Volunteers,” Collins and Wright have earned a reputation for going above and beyond to help various projects and causes. You might’ve seen them both watering flower baskets in the downtown vicinity or among those selling items at the Lions Club’s annual garage sale.

In other words, don’t let their ages fool you because the pair continues to contribute heavily to their chosen volunteer endeavors.

“You don’t do any volunteer work with the idea that you’re going to be recognized but it’s nice when somebody does,” Wright said. “You basically do it because you think it’s good to give back to your community.”

Added Collins, “What you accomplish is very rewarding and then this kind of stuff is kind of the cake.”

Both of them are usually pretty busy on parade morning, so taking a ride was a new experience. Collins has been the parade’s announcer for the past several years and Wright is usually found at the Lions Club’s Saturday morning pancake breakfast event at the rodeo grounds.

“I think I’ve been announcing it for 20 years now and this year I get to be in it,” Collins said about the parade. “It was a nice surprise.”

Longtime volunteer Dale Collins prior to Saturday’s parade. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Collins has served the community in many different ways over the years from his time as mayor in the 1970s to his involvement with the park board and downtown flower basket program.

“I enjoy the Lions Club — lot of good things happening in the community with that,” Collins said when asked if he had a favorite activity.

One of the Lions Club’s biggest annual projects is the annual book sale, which will be coming up next week from July 14-16 at the rodeo grounds. Wright came up with the idea 15 years ago when he was the Lions Club president and in search of a new fundraiser.

“When we first started, my wife and I would go as far as Pendleton and as far south probably as Roseburg,” Wright said, in reference to picking up books. “I have partners now working the book sale — there’s three of us now.”

The Frolic & Rodeo’s Chris Workman hangs a lei around Tom Wright’s neck prior to Saturday’s parade. Wright and Dale Collins served as grand marshals. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Wright works with Collins on the Lions Club’s garage sale and he’s in charge of the organization’s fireworks stand.

“The Lions Club keeps me fairly busy,” he said. “Mostly it’s 15, 20 hours a week just with the Lions Club work that I do.”

As mentioned, Collins and Wright both volunteer time to water the flower baskets over the summer. Wright heads up the processing of payments from sponsors.

“It’s the effort of Dale and Tom that keep that program going and that’s just one of the things that they keep going,” said Chris Workman, who sits on the Frolic & Rodeo’s board.

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.