Carmen Bradley, family development services director for the Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership, is the grand marshal for the 49th annual Arrows to Aerospace Parade Aug. 17.
The A to A Parade is staged on Mission Avenue, beginning at Lincoln Road and proceeding east to Franklin Street, where it turns north and ends at Washington Park.
Love for community involvement and a passion for helping others made this Omaha native make the move south to Bellevue.
Bradley, who grew up in north Omaha, has resided in Bellevue for 26 years.
“I wanted a smaller school district for the children, and I really wanted a different environment,” she said.
“I had a troubled marriage, and I knew I was transitioning from married to being a single parent.
“I thought when I first moved to Bellevue, I would move back to Omaha, but what I ended up doing is moving further into Bellevue.”
The parade, Bradley said, has been an important event in her time in Bellevue.
“Everybody is at the parade,” she said. “It’s a big part for me — my kids walked in the parade.”
To be the grand marshal is a “surprising honor,” Bradley said.
“I know what I do in the community isn’t only my job — it’s something I’m passionate about,” she said.
Bradley has previous experience with ENCAP Nebraska — her grandmother used to volunteer with the organization — and she herself has received help from them after being laid off from a previous job.
“[ENCAP] has provided poverty-fighting services since 1965 in Douglas and Sarpy counties,” she said.
“I never thought I’d be working for this agency, and I’m passionate about ENCAP’s work.”
ENCAP provides services for families in the community to reduce the poverty count. The agency provides food to the Bellevue Food Pantry and other organizations, provides family development services, works with the churches around Bellevue and offers transportation services.
The agency also helped during the March flooding that affected Bellevue and other parts of the community.
“I feel I’m always giving back,” Bradley said of working for ENCAP. “ENCAP does well about helping families meet basic needs, skills and they give families hope and help them look for a brighter future.”
Bradley said she’s happy to represent ENCAP at the parade.
“Bellevue is pretty special,” she said. “Being part of the parade, it’s not just about me.
“It’s giving the opportunity to thank the community partners for helping make all this possible.”