Retiring Nelson County first responder to be honored as Grand Marshall at local Christmas parade

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(Photo: Courtesy Wintergreen Fire and Rescue)

(Photo: Courtesy Wintergreen Fire and Rescue)

NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — A first responder in Nelson County will be celebrating his retirement with all the bells and whistles Saturday night as the Grand Marshall of a local Christmas parade.

Wintergreen Fire and Rescue posted on Facebook on Tuesday, Dec. 8, that Bickley will soon be ending his tour of duty in Nelson County, which involved many roles for Wintergreen, including Interim EMS Chief.

“Since his tenure pre-dates our computers, it’s hard to know precisely how many times Ralph has responded to 911 emergencies within our area. A safe guess would be between 5 and 10 thousand,” Wintergreen Fire and Rescue wrote on Facebook. “Ralph is reliable, calm, and a great friend to anyone lucky enough to work with him.:

Even though coronavirus restrictions make celebratory gatherings difficult, the department figured out how to honor Bickley for his retirement in a safe way that still comes with all the bells and whistles.

Therefore, fire officials say Bickley has been named the Grand Marshall of the “COVID-19 friendly” Christmas Parade in Lovingston.

According to the department, the entrants of the parade will park along the parade route, the attendees will drive by in their cars, and Bickley and his wife will be sitting beside the Nelson EMS ambulance.

“We hope you will wave to Ralph and let him know how much the community appreciates his life’s work,” Wintergreen Fire and Rescue stated.

The parade — which is themed “The Power of Hope” this year — is set to take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12, along Front Street through Lovingston.

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