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Dennis Parsley, center, is pictured with Ralston Area Chamber of Commerce President Amy Roeder and Ralston Mayor Don Groesser after being named the 2018 Citizen of the Year. Parsley will serve as grand marshal for the 2019 Independence Day parade Thursday.

Dennis Parsley is a seasoned pro when it comes to driving in the annual Ralston Independence Day parade.

As the grand marshal for the 2019 event, Parsley will finally be able to go along for the ride.

Named Ralston’s 2018 Citizen of the Year, the longtime Ralston resident will be honored as Thursday’s grand marshal.

“I have some convertibles, so I have driven in the parade many times,” Parsley said. “This year, I’m going to let someone else drive.”

Since moving to Ralston in 1965, Parsley has been a driving force behind many programs and civic work in the city.

He was one of the original founding members of the Ralston Jaycees and has spent 46 years serving the Ralston Girls Softball Association. He’s also spent many years serving on the Board of Adjustment and Civil Service Commission as well as the Ralston Sports Committee.

“I just can’t say no to the mayor,” Parsley joked.

But saying no to almost any group needing volunteer help has never been the case for Parsley. He believes volunteer work is the core of a strong community.

“I guess since I was young I’ve been volunteering so it’s kind of in my nature,” he said. “I just think it’s the right thing to do and I wish more people would do it. I enjoy it and it’s a way to stay busy.

“I’ll keep helping the city as long as they don’t throw me out.”

While he’s not one to seek any attention for his years of service, Parsley admits it is a good feeling when people notice the community work.

“You kind of get used to nobody saying thank you, so once in a while it is nice to hear someone say it,” he said. “But being Citizen of the Year is something I never expected.”

Parsley said he and his wife, Delores, couldn’t imagine any place other than Ralston being their home.

“We built our retirement house about 15 years ago and we could have built it anywhere, but we want to retire here,” he said. “This is where we started and this is where we’d like to finish.”

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