Allegan County News & Union Enterprise News

Local couple lead homecoming parade

Rosie and Tom Hunter were honored as Grand Marshalls of the Allegan High School Homecoming Parade on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023. Photo courtesy of Aaron Rogers.

By Gari Voss

When the Allegan High School Homecoming Parade took to the streets around Allegan High and Middle Schools on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, to increase spirit for the big game against Constantine, a familiar couple led the procession. Tom Hunter grew up in Allegan and Rosie moved into Allegan from the Bangor area as a social worker at the courthouse.
Tom only recently closed his Bike Shop that filled the Hunter Hardware storefront for years. “I started working at the store in 1954 when I was 12. I continued to work summers when I was in school. After spending some time in the military, I returned in 1969 and worked fulltime. My mom worked at the courthouse and invited me to come to one of her parties. I met Rosie, and the rest is history.”
Both voiced that they were honored to be asked by young Mr. Rogers. “He is a fantastic young man,” they chimed.
To prepare properly, Tom pulled out his Letterman’s jacket with the letter he earned in cross-country. It still fit (all that bike riding must be the key), and he wore it proudly as he drove the Chevy Colorado donated by Betten Baker along the parade route around the high school and middle school. “It was a lot of fun!”
Many in the parade and more along the parade route could share a myriad of stories of how the couple has impacted lives in Allegan over the years. Allegan native, graduate and now teacher/coach at Allegan High School Aaron Rogers wove a tale that could be shared in different variations by so many others in Allegan and beyond.
As Student Leaders Advisor at Allegan High School, Rogers works with the students responsible for the Homecoming Week details. One of the most difficult decisions is usually selecting the Grand Marshall. This year’s decision seemed to explode like a spotlight rather than a dim light bulb.
Rogers reminisced, “Having grown up in Allegan, I first knew Tom through his bike shop. I remember buying my first custom Mongoose from him, fixed with flashy orange tires and orange pegs – I’ve always been proud of our school colors!
“Over the years, I started to recognize more and more how Tom and Rosie were involved in so many things within our community. I would see them everywhere, always with a smile, always with a wave. In the past two years, our paths have crossed many times while walking downtown with my son and my dog. Many times, we have stopped to say hello. The warmth they give out from their spirits is always so present! If they are able to share that love and kindness to someone they hardly know, I can only imagine the love and kindness they show to everyone else.
“Over the past few months, with the bike shop closing, I’ve seen Tom and Rosie be celebrated and recognized for their decades as business owners. As I thought about our Grand Marshals, they were the first people who entered my brain. It felt so great to have an opportunity to show warmth, love, and kindness back to these two humans.
“I shared this idea with the Student Leaders and a few community members, and everyone was just as excited about it as I was.
“A couple weeks ago, I went to their house during my lunch, knocked on their door, and invited them to be our Grand Marshals. They were just tickled with the idea and accepted so graciously.
“On Friday for Homecoming, we met at the front of the high school where I hooked them up with a little bit of AHS swag and gave them the keys to drive a 2024 Chevy Colorado, provided generously by Betten Baker, through the parade. They led us with pride!”
The couple moved along the streets to the cheers and greetings of parade goers. The sentiments of those present, and those who are sorry to have missed the occasion, can be wrapped in what was shared on the Homecoming Grand Marshall poster, “We are grateful to have you in our city! Thank you for your decades of support!”

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