Mission Viejo Elks Join Lake Forest July 4th Parade
By Mike Long
Photography by Mike Marquis and Mike Klinger
On a pleasant and sunny morning, Elks Lodge #2444 of Mission Viejo-Saddleback Valley performed in their sixth consecutive 4th of July Parade in nearby Lake Forest. Thousands of patriotic parade attendees cheered and waved the Elks as they drove their decorated flotilla thru the 3 mile parade route.
Boy Scout Troup 630 of Mission Viejo marched up front with a large banner proclaiming the arrival of the community's local Elks Lodge. "Big John", a beautiful 50 year old fire engine with lights flashing was driven by former Battalion Commander Jim Henry, with Vietnam Veteran and Elk Dennis Lumley a prominent passenger in the forward cab. Elks Barbara King and Brenda Rehnke rode on the jump seats a top the fire engine in star-spangled banner attire, enthusiastically waving and engaging the crowd.
Mission Viejo's very own Councilwoman Wendy Bucknum and Mayor Pro-Tem Greg Raths, joined their brother Elks in the parade and were chauffeured in a cute VW Beetle convertible by Commissioner Dave Leckness. Esquire Mike Klinger and Mike Marquis took turns photographing the parade action and towing the ingeniously decorated Elks parade float ridden by Elks Organist Andy Costello, Mary Ann Costello, PER Pat Martino, Barbara Martino, PER Irene Romero, Kathy Andrews, and brand new Elk Linda Dohr. The float also featured a sound system that played inspirational Sousa marching band music to the crowd's delight.
(above) Sandy McClure, Barbara Martino, Irene Romero PER, Andy Costello, Mike Klinger, Kevin Hughes and Kathy Andrews prepare the MV Elks "float" trailer.
Inner Guard Kevin Hughes drove a beautiful parade red, white, and blue Miata convertible with his on board video camera catching parade action. No doubt this will soon be added to Lodge #2444's TV slide show system, build by Mr. Hughes and Mr. Klinger.
Many thanks also to: PER and driver Jim Humprey (right) with passenger Tom Denny; driver John Wells with passenger PER Hal Book (San Clemente); driver Jurgen Picard with passenger and Elks parade queen Sandy McClure; Lecturing Knight and driver Mike Long; and medi-vac/water wagon driver Stephanie Bongartz that trailed the posse in case any Elks required special attention.
Special kudos to Andy Costello, Pat and Barbara Martino and Irene Romero, all of whom walked much of the parade and personally greeted parade attendees with handouts from the Elks provided by Stephanie Bongartz.
In a spirit of "no man left behind" the Elks also engaged in a brief post-parade search party to locate our temporarily missing walker, Barbara Martino. After a few anxious minutes Barbara called into headquarters and was swiftly returned to her loved ones.
(right) Lecturing Knight and event chairman, Mike Long, adds red,white and blue to MV Elks vehicles.