News: Black Forest parade honors 2nd GSAB
Story by Sgt. Jonathan Thibault
BLACK FOREST, Colo. – Army heroes were celebrated by a city recovering from a devastating wild-fire that started in early June during the annual Black Forest parade, in Black Forest, Colo., Aug. 17.
This year’s Black Forest Parade was a very special one, because it’s honoring the heroes who saved our city, said Sharon Conley, Black Forest parade coordinator.
The soldiers from 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, appreciated the recognition.
“It was a phenomenal opportunity for 4th CAB to be honored at the parade, especially for 2nd GSAB, 4th Avn. Reg.,” said Lt. Col. Tyler Smith, battalion commander, 2nd GSAB. “It was great to spend some time with the Black Forest community. It was nice to connect with the people we helped, and it was a chance to share pride in what we all have accomplished.”
2nd GSAB, 4th Avn. Reg., was featured in the parade because of the work they did during the Black Forest fires. They dropped thousands of gallons of water from bambi buckets on spot-fires to safeguard houses and buildings within the burning areas.
The parade, which was sponsored by the Black Forest Community Club, provided relief and a chance to thank first responders of the wild fires.
“We just wanted the Families of Black Forest to have a good time and be able to see some of the heroes of the Black Forest fires,” said Eddie Bracken, BFCC President, and this year’s chairman. “They deserve it after their suffering and devastating losses from the fires.”
More than 90 agencies participated in the parade to help support the Black Forest recovery effort and inspire community bonding.
“About one-third of the agencies were home-grown local agencies, and the other two-thirds were from outside organizations and businesses,” said Conley. “The Black Forest community is a private community. The parade allows them to come together, celebrate and enjoy each other’s company.”
A lot of work and volunteers went into setting up and ensuring safety at the parade for the residents of the city.
“Coordinating parade entries according to their themes and taking last minute entries down to the very morning of the parade kept me very busy,” said Conley. “We have to prevent conflicting themes that involve cars, animals and people.
“We didn’t want horses fighting with llamas,” she said. “We didn’t want children to get trampled or run over trying to get candy that parade participants were throwing to the crowd. We take a lot into consideration when coming up with the lineup of the parade.”
Black Forest residents were very proud to honor and have 4th CAB soldiers participate in the parade.
“Over the years, we have been supported very well by Fort Carson,” said Bracken, with a heavy sigh as he blinked back tears. “No one knows how much it means, and how important it is to our community, to have these military members here. We have a large community of retired veterans in this area and the continuing support of the military is much appreciated.”
The parade’s grand finale ended with the marching of a small group of soldiers led by Smith and Command Sgt. Maj. Rickey Davis, senior enlisted leader, 2nd GSAB, 4th Avn. Reg. They marched proudly to the cadence of the roaring cheers from the Black Forest parade attendees.