Longest-running parade raises tornado recovery awareness

Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN)
Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN)
Jennifer Moore
Jennifer Moore

PEKIN, IN (WAVE) - Only one town in the country can claim the longest running Fourth of July parade. For more than 180 years, Pekin, Indiana residents have made it a priority to celebrate our independence. This year, so did a prominent public official.

In a town always one to celebrate America's heritage, Governor Mitch Daniels made Pekin's parade a priority.

"It's historic. It's the longest-running in America. That's one reason I was eager to come back," Gov. Daniels said.

The governor was also eager to revisit the community hit hard by the March 2 tornado outbreak. Daniels said he is inspired by their resilience.

"I so admire the people here and the way they handled it," Daniels said."The way they're coming back from it. So when I looked at the list of possibilities, Pekin was the obvious choice."

Like so many communities, not every float in Pekin's parade is from the small town. Several are from outlying areas that are hoping to bring awareness to their ongoing recovery.

Daisy Hill is a town so small you may not even find it on a map, but the tornado did. Jennifer Moore entered a float in hopes of bringing awareness to her hometown's struggles.

"They're still living in tents. They're stilling living in campers," Moore said. "We're getting the word out by putting this float in here, showing our pictures and showing the people. Some of us still out there are needing help."

Daniels spoke with Moore and her neighbors. They said they're encouraged by his response.

"All we can do is continue applying for financial aid and assistance. But that takes time. And it's already been several months and we'd hate to go into the fall school year and still see children living with their parents in tents," Moore added.

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