River Country Journal
Celebrating and Nurturing Life in Southwest Michigan's River Country

All Stories

July 13, 2013

Scholarship & Citizen of the Year recognition, parade highlight opening day of 2013 White Pigeon Days

More articles by »
Written by: Bruce Snook
Tags: , ,
U.S. flag in White Pigeon Days parade

Mother Nature provided marvelous summer weather for the opening day of this year’s ‘White Pigeon Days’ celebration in White Pigeon on Friday (July 12).

A well-attended evening parade was preceded by activity at the intersection of US-12 (Chicago Road) and Kalamazoo Street to recognize the recipient of the scholarship awarded by the White Pigeon Community Association and to honor the 2013 ‘Citizens of the Year’.

Mitchell Boatman, winner of the 2013 scholarship from the White Pigeon Community Association

Mary Hooley introduced Mitchell Boatman, a 2013 graduate of White Pigeon High School – valedictorian of his class – and the winner of a $500 scholarship.  Boatman, whose parents are David and Trina Boatman, will be attending Grand Valley State University and majoring in communications.

Mary Hooley congratulates Phyllis Gray, one of two recipients of ‘Citizen of the Year’ honors.

Hooley also introduced Phyllis Gray, a lifetime resident of White Pigeon and one of two persons given Citizen of the Year honors this year.  Gray served on the White Pigeon Township Library Board for 25 years and has been involved in numerous aspects of the community.  In providing information about herself, Gray said the “greatest achievement” for her and her husband, Dale, was the founding of Gray Brothers Stamping and Machine, Inc. – within the village limits – in 1948 and, later, the opening of Gray Brothers Electric.  Since 1948, Gray has supported local business through much patronage, sponsored Little League teams, donated to White Pigeon athletics, bought the large flower pots for the village, and given many donations to other causes through the years.

Mary Hooley with John Gentry during ‘Citizen of the Year’ award presentation activity prior to the White Pigeon Days parade Friday evening.

David Watson, who joined Hooley in handling announcing for the awards ceremony, introduced the other Citizen of the Year, photographer John Gentry.  Watson noted that Gentry has used his photography skills to support the community in a variety of ways including photographing White Pigeon sports, establishing a White Pigeon Chiefs website (www.wpchiefs.com) in 2008, and starting WP Chiefs on Facebook in 2010, an Internet presence that now has almost 2,200 Friends.  With permission from White Pigeon High School, Gentry has also launched a fundraising campaign to raise $10,000 for equipment – “high quality lenses and photo editing work stations for the yearbook and, possibly, photo classes.”  The campaign began earlier this year and $3,600 has been raised so far.  Gentry said, “With student participation and community diligence, I believe White Pigeon Schools will become known as THE premiere photography teaching environment in Michiana.”

As part of their Citizen of the Year recognition, Gray and Gentry rode in a convertible in the parade – and Gentry was seen snapping pictures along the parade route!

White Pigeon Days continues with a full day of activities on Saturday, capped by fireworks at 10:30 p.m.

The celebration will conclude on Sunday with a Worship & Song Service in Wade Park at 11 a.m.

To hear the presentation of the scholarship and Citizen of the Year awards, click here (6:18 – 5.78MB).

For additional glimpse into the opening day of White Pigeon Days, enjoy the photographs that accompany this River Country Journal report.

Clowns on wheels in White Pigeon Days parade






Photographer John Gentry was seen shooting photographs from his riding-in-a-convertible vantage point in the parade as a ‘Citizen of the Year’ – along with ‘Citizen of the Year’ Phyllis Gray.  (Click on photo to enlarge)






‘Uncle Sam’ on stilts






Someone was getting a ‘birdseye view’ of the parade.






The U.S. Land Office building, a museum owned and operated by the St. Joseph County Historical Society, was open Friday and will be open on Saturday as well during White Pigeon Days.  (Click on photo to enlarge)




The Midway on South Kalamazoo Street was a busy place after the parade.  (Click on photo to enlarge)


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>