This year will be the first time Rod and Valerie Clark have ever ridden in Osceola's Fourth of July parade.
The Fourth of July committee selected the Clarks as parade marshals.
“It’s an honor to do that," Rod said. "Usually, I don’t even get to see the parade. I’m on the fire department. We set it up.”
Last year, Rod was injured, so it was the first time he’s gotten to see the parade since he’s been on the fire department.
Valerie has never ridden in the parade because she has been helping with the fire department’s auxiliary or had family in town.
The Clarks said it was an honor and privilege to be selected as parade marshals.
Rod has been with the fire department for 33 years. He has been named "Fireman of the Year" twice — in 1993 and 2007.
“I just love to help the community. Anything I can do,” he said.
Valerie has been involved with the fire department’s auxiliary for more than 30 years.
“We do a lot of fundraisers," she said. "What I like the most is probably making sure they have their drinks and food and stuff at the scene — make sure they’re OK.”
In 2012, Sen. Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, presented Rod with an American flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol.
The flags were presented to four different veterans and first responders during a Veterans Day event.
The couple has four children, and all three of their sons are volunteer fireman. They also have a daughter and daughter-in-law who are on auxiliary for the fire department.
Rod has received an accommodation from the city for saving a little girl's life. She had a seizure, and he did CPR and took her to the hospital.
Besides serving their community through the fire department, the Clarks also have a locally-owned business — Clarks New and Used Furniture. They have owned the store since 1992.
What does the couple like about having their own business?
“I used to say you have your own freedom to do what you want when you want, but that’s not true,” Rod said with a big laugh. “You pick your own hours, but that’s not true.”
Valerie added, “You meet a lot of different people in the community — help a lot of people.”
The Clarks volunteer their time in Osceola in other ways, too.
Valerie was a leader with Girl Scouts for 10 years, and the couple helped with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts for 20 years.
“Now, our grandsons are just getting involved in it again,” Val said.
The Clarks have volunteered with Osceola Senior Center and Osceola Chamber/Main Street. Valerie also transports people to doctor appointments in Des Moines and has been a substitute at Clarke.
Now that the Fourth of July celebrations are a month and a-half away, what is something the couple is looking forward to during the holiday?
Rod said it is the music in the park.
“Probably spending time with our family in the park," Valerie said. "It’s a good community thing to talk to people and see people.”