Each year we have selected a Grand Marshal for the Snake Saturday Parade with the following criteria: A prominent person north of the river who contributes to northland charities.
I had the pleasure of sitting down for a lovely afternoon visit with this year’s Grand Marshal. As she shared stories of her career and dedication to our community, I will be honest, we laughed, and we cried. Well I cried anyway. She touched my heart. Watching her eyes light up as she shared the stories about driving around some 80 year old ladies recently to deliver meals, made me want to join her.
When I think about Snake Saturday, what it stands for and the heart of the organization, there was one quote from our Grand Marshal that stood out….”It’s all about fostering relationships and opportunities”. Our Grand Marshal really started her career while she was in college, and you could almost say it was the “family business? She started work at KC MO Parks and Rec while in college and then in 1987 started as the Recreation Coordinator for Gladstone Parks and Recreation and grew up with in the organization to become the Director of Parks and Recreation and Facilities for the city of Gladstone.
Through the years the most satisfaction she experienced was from watching the participants, from cradle to grave and the difference that was made in their lives. Many times, young children grew up and came back to work for her in their first jobs as teen agers. Even now many of them keep in touch.
If you have ever been to Oak Grove Park, there is no doubt you have seen the theater stage for Theater in the Park. Our Grand Marshal spearheaded this community theater along with Van and Susie Ibsen and it is a community favorite today, inspiring and building confidence and skills in young and young at heart artists.
She was a founding member of the Northland Christmas Store serving hundreds of children. She currently serves on the board of the McGee Foundation and the Frank & Margaret McGee fund as well as serving as a Trustee for North Kansas City Hospital.
During her years in Gladstone, she worked her full-time job and then volunteered even more on top of that. From coaching teams, to coordinating events and programs, she did it all.
Her entire life has been guided by the question “What can I do?” Well Sheila, you raised a community!
Thank you to the 2018 Snake Saturday Grand Marshal, Sheila Lillis!
Mindy Hart ~ Snake Saturday Publicist