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Sutphin named Grand Marshal of Strawberry Festival parade

by CJ Carnacchio

July 04, 2012

In small towns like the Village of Leonard, one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a person is the title of Grand Marshal for the big parade.

This year that honor goes to Addison Township resident John Sutphin, who will serve as Grand Marshal for the 60th annual Strawberry Festival's parade on Saturday, July 21 beginning at 12 noon.

"I always try to pick someone who has been active in the community for a long time," said Leonard Village Councilwoman Char Sutherby, who serves on the town's Summer Festival Committee. "I try to alternate between (choosing) village and township residents."

Unfortunately, Sutphin could not be reached for comment about his new title.

Sutphin's community service is well-known in Addison.

Since 2000, he's served as an elected trustee on the township board.

He previously served on the township's fire board and for a while, was very active on North Oakland Transportation Authority (NOTA) board.

NOTA provides free rides seven days a week to senior citizens, the mentally and physically handicapped, developmentally disabled folks, transit dependent people and participants in the welfare-to-work program.

Sutphin keeps a watchful eye on Addison's natural gems as a volunteer park ranger.

He and his fellow rangers ensure public park land remains unspoiled and that users are obeying all the rules.

It was Sutphin's humility and modesty that made him the perfect choice for Grand Marshal, in Sutherby's opinion.

Sutherby noted that when she called Sutphin to give him the good news, he was hesitant about accepting the title.

"He told me, 'I'm not sure I'm good enough,'" she said. "That tells me that I did pick the right person. There's so many people out there who are all about the glory and they want you to know everything that they've done.

"(Sutphin's) not that kind of person and to me, that says he's the right person (for Grand Marshal)."