August 06, 2014 - Justice was the theme of this year's Lone Ranger parade in downtown Oxford.
Kent County Circuit Court Judge James Robert Redford served as Grand Marshal in the Lone Ranger Day parade Aug. 2. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
How appropriate that it included a man who not only dispenses justice on the west side of the state, but is working to become a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court.
Serving as this year's Grand Marshal, Kent County Circuit Court Judge James Robert Redford proudly rolled along M-24 waving to the crowd from a horse-drawn carriage.
"It was such a pleasure and privilege to be here with you guys," he said. "The town is thriving. The people couldn't have been more friendly. I've just really enjoyed the day."
Redford, who grew up in Detroit, is no stranger to Oxford. As a boy, he used to come through these parts on his way to the D-bar-A Scout Ranch in Metamora Township.
He's also no stranger to the Lone Ranger, the fictional masked lawman who's been delighting, thrilling and inspiring generations of children and adults since making his radio debut on Detroit's WXYZ in 1933.
Although he's not old enough to recall the radio program, Redford definitely remembers watching reruns of the black-and-white Lone Ranger television series that ran from 1949-57. He followed the lawman's adventures from the den of his childhood home at 7 Mile Rd. and Woodward Ave.
To Redford, the Lone Ranger embodies timeless values such as respect for others, being responsible and accountable for one's own actions, and serving the community.
"I think that message resonates today as clearly as it did in the 1940s and 1950s, maybe even more clearly," he said.
To Redford, a U.S. Navy veteran who served from 1984 to 2012, the best example of this can be found in the men and women currently serving in America's Armed Forces.
"Those heroes among us today, they're not wearing masks," he told a crowd in Centennial Park. "They're wearing the cloth of our nation."
Through his deeds and words, the Lone Ranger character set an example for others to follow by demonstrating both physical and moral courage whenever he helped folks in need, according to Redford.
He believes it's important for both kids and adults "to think in terms of 'what I can do for my community (and) what can I do for my nation' with the gifts I've been given."
Redford has served on the bench since 2003. From 1990-98, he was a federal prosecutor who took on drug rings and money-laundering operations. He's hoping to secure the Republican Party's nomination and win one of three available seats on the Michigan Supreme Court in the November election.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.