Home / News / Chris Gow; Volunteer Extraordinaire, 2016 Independence Parade Grand Marshal
Chris Gow at a past Independence Parade passing out flags.

Chris Gow; Volunteer Extraordinaire, 2016 Independence Parade Grand Marshal

By Bobbie DeBoer

Oceanside CA— Preparations are underway for the ‘Tri-City Medical Center Oceanside Independence Parade’. A patriotic tradition in Oceanside since 1892, the parade is set for Saturday, July 2nd, starting at 10:00am

Beecher Young and Chris Cow at the MainStreet Oceanside chili booth. Beecher said his chili has "no heat, fresh veggies, chorizo, meat and you keep putting stuff in it until the pot is full.

Beecher Young and Chris Cow at the Chili Cook-off

“It will be a jam-packed parade experience especially this year’s ‘volunteer’ parade theme.” said Cathy Nykiel, parade committee member.

“Our theme was selected to honor those who contribute so much to our community. Come out in your best Patriotic duds, wave your American flags and see our parade entries represent this theme and honor our Nation, Oceanside,  local business and individuals.”

Who better to represent the Oceanside Volunteer than this years’ Grand Marshal, Chris Gow.

To be of service to our fellows is a beautiful and commendable thing. While we know it feels good in our hearts to help others, most people are so busy that there just isn’t enough time in the day to even think about adding something else in. We might occasionally help with a church bake sale or give a hand to a neighbor building a new fence, but anything more can feel overwhelming.

For Chris Gow, volunteering has become an art form, as well as an expression of passion and love for her adopted city of Oceanside. In June she will celebrate 55 years of volunteer work.

Chris began her volunteer career while she was in high school as a Candy Striper with the Red Cross at Highland Hospital and Oak Knoll Navy Hospital in Oakland, California. She moved to Oceanside in April 1997, after serving in the United States Army. That’s when her local volunteering really took off. She became a member of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and served in the Oceanside Police Department Senior Volunteer Program; worked with the Friends of Oceanside Parks (a non-profit fundraising group for Oceanside Parks and Recreation); and has served as ambassador, parade coordinator and vendor volunteer for MainStreet Oceanside.

There doesn’t seem to be a part of Oceanside she’s missed: she was a member of Chamber Harbor Days for ten years (Volunteer of the Year in 2006), volunteered for events at Heritage Park, the Sunset Market and the Oceanside Music Festival, as well as working in the IRONMAN competitions.

Ms. Gow was awarded Senior Citizen of the Year on October 8, 2015. On Chris Gow Day, she received a Proclamation from the City, along with a gift certificate, and her name has been inscribed on two plaques; one will hang at the Country Club Senior Center and the other at El Corazon Senior Center.

“Volunteering became a part of me from 1961 to the present. I have been so blessed to be able to be part of all the wonderful groups that I have been with in the past and the ones I am currently involved with. As long as my body allows, I will continue doing the volunteering that I love so much,” said Chris.

Here are some of the groups Chris has worked with over the years that made our city just a little bit brighter:

  • CERT
  • MainStreet: OFest 2000-2009; Antiques on Mission; Saturday for Giving; Dia De Los Muertos; Sunset Market; Parade; Ambassador Program; 4th of July at the Beach 2010-present.
  • Friends of Parks and Recreation: Concerts, Heritage Park Days Concerts, Fall Festival, Easter Egg Hunt, Tree Lighting, Fireworks, Heritage Park Spring Festival, Heritage Park Fall Chili Cook-off, Sunday Mini-Concerts at Heritage Park
  • Turkey Trot
  • Oceanside Valentine’s Week Bike, Walk and Run 2016
  • Zero Waste: Earth Festival 2014/2015 and Gift and Brew 2015
  • Nominated for Oceanside Martin Luther King 2015 Award
  • Past President of Oceanside Manufactured Home Association
  • Oceanside Music Festival
  • Oceanside Harbor Days 2000-2006. Volunteer of the Year 2006.

Thanks so much for all you do, Chris!

“Much thanks also goes to this year’s Title Sponsor, Tri-City Medical Center” said Mainstreet Oceanside Executive Director, Rick Wright. “The sweet down-home parade would have a very tough time without Tri-City Medical Center’s support to continue such a legacy this parade has become for our city residents, ”

MainStreet Oceanside is accepting applications for the Tri-City Medical Center Oceanside Independence Parade. To participate, please visit our parade website http://OceansideParade.com/ and download the application. More than 75 volunteers help make this special parade come together smoothly.

For more information about the parade, please call MainStreet Oceanside at 760-754-4512.

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