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Former mayor to lead Christmas parade

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By Jeff M. Hardison

Former Chiefland Mayor Betty S. Walker is scheduled to be the grand marshal of the Christmas & Winter Festival Parade on Dec. 1.

The parade is slated to start at 6 p.m. that Saturday evening at Chiefland High School and travel south on U.S. Highway 19 to South Third Avenue. Santa Claus is set to ride at the end of the parade, and he plans to listen to children's Christmas wishes at Trailhead Park - home of the Chiefland Train Depot.

The leader of the parade this year is a hometown person.

Walker, 61, was born in Chiefland. She served five, two-year terms on the Chiefland City Commission.

In addition to that public service, for the past 26 years, she has worked at the Levy County Association for Retarded Citizens, where she now sits as the executive director.

Among her many favorite projects was "Light Up Chiefland," which was a combined effort of the Greater Chiefland Area Chamber of Commerce, business owners and the city. Walker said she felt a couple of years ago that the Christmas lights left something to be desired.

Through the work of the City Commission and the Chamber, a company was located to lease lights to make the city prettier.

Walker is happy to serve as grand marshal of the parade this year.

"That's an honor, a real honor," she said. "I appreciate the people thinking of me like that. I wouldn't have guessed in a million years that I would be grand marshal of the Christmas Parade."

Although she is no longer a city commissioner, Walker plans to remain active in civic matters.

"I still love the city of Chiefland," she said. "I am a citizen and I am concerned about some things. I will voice my opinion."

During her years as a commissioner and mayor, Walker said she saw many happy and good things come to be. For instance, the city is growing.

Just like her job at LARC, she said her work for the city brought her new adventures every day. She enjoys the different things that happen each day.

Walker has a core guideline.

"I always put Christ before everything I do," she said. "You just can't jump in and do something without thinking. Haste makes waste. I've got to get an 'O.K.' from the Man Above. That's what makes happy times. That's when you see a plan come together.

"As people in the public eye," she continued, "we have to remember that people and God put us in these positions to always do what's pleasing to God."

Having been mayor and continuing as executive director of LARC, Walker reminds herself to remain humble.

"I never want to be too high, where I think I don't have time for the small people," Walker said. "They are the people who need our help the most. I want to always stay humble. I don't ever want to be that mean, ugly person."