As Saugerties July Fourth parades go, the turnout was about average, but the emotional level was greater than it’s been for many years, as the wife, and daughters of the late Scout Thornton were honored as grand marshals of the parade. Scout had served as the voice of the parade for many years. He was replaced this year by Mike Karashay.
Scout’s wife, Sheri, and daughters, Sarah, and Andria, were joined in the line of march by the Saugerties Fire Department and the many fire companies that serve the town, as well as by fire department and companies from neighboring communities.
Numerous other organization, politicians, service groups and veterans took part in the almost three-hour event.
While the parade is foremost in the minds of many Saugerties residents, another very significant firemanic event took place earlier in the day. Saugerties officials reviewed the fire department, fire companies, and the Saugerties Police Department during an annual inspection.
During the inspection, the fire department honors one of its own as Firefighter of the Year. “This year’s honoree dedicated countless hours of service to the fire department,” said Chris Wade, newly named chief of the fire department. “He’s a true leader … and during his time with the fire department he’s made countless changes … and always worked to improve the department and its firefighters.”
Wade, along with assistant chiefs Scott Campbell and Chris Mason, presented the award to past fire chief David Mason. Mason has been a member of the department for 18 years. His interest in becoming a firefighter began when he and his younger brother would hang out as kids at the firehouse with their dad Brian and the other Mason relatives who belonged to the department.
Dave’s daughter Claudia, now seven, will probably become a firefighter as well, he added.
During his time with the department, Mason was fire chief for six years, and prior to that served as assistant fire chief for a year. “This is just such an amazing honor,” Mason said. “I really didn’t expect this.”