By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
It’s fitting that John Myers was selected to serve as the 51st annual Apple Harvest Festival Parade grand marshal because for decades Myer’s served as emcee of the parade’s opening act. On Sunday, Oct. 6, the Apple Harvest Road Race will be celebrating its 40th anniversary, and Myers will marshal the parade procession past the town green as runners wind down with a hot bag of apple fritters.
This year’s parade—and the road race—will continue the 2019 theme, “Bushels of Family Fun,” and Myers will lead the way.
Each year, the Apple Harvest Festival supervisory committee selects someone associated with the festival to serve as the parade grand marshal. AHF coordinator, David Lapraey, said the former Southington-Cheshire YMCA executive director is dedicated to the community. For decades, Myers has been heavily involved in service with a number of local groups, organizations, and committees.
Lapreay worked with the former YMCA executive director and Apple Harvest Road Race director for many years, and he said the grand marshal has always led with a professional manner.
In 2018, Myers retired from the YMCA after 31 years. He was a cofounder of many of Southinginton’s initiatives and organizations, including Southington Town Effort to Promote Success (STEPS), the Healthy Family Fun Fest, and Activate Southington.
He is an active volunteer at the chamber of commerce, the juvenile review board, the farm heritage commission, and dozens of others. He has also served with organizations such as the United Way, Hartford Healthcare, St. Paul’s housing board, the downtown renaissance committee, the parking authority, the Gura committee, and the library strategic planning committee.
Myers has been active in the community through serving as a coach, mentor, and advocate for a number of youth organizations during his tenure with the YMCA, including the Southington High School cross country team, youth soccer clubs, baseball, and girls softball programs.
“A great tribute to someone who has committed his entire YMCA career to helping people reach their full potential,” said current CEO Mark Pooler to The Observer. “We are proud of him and fortunate to have him back again this year leading the race.”
“I think it’s part of our community embracing being healthy,” Myers said to The Observer after the 2018 road race. “Families are a good example. They’re great, they have the whole family out here.”
Myers and his family—wife Moira and their two children, Jack and Catherine—were active members of the Southington community for more than thirty years.
Observer staff writers Sheridan Roy and Kevin Roberts contributed to this article.