4th of July Parade Marshal: U.S. Navy vet Pat McCurry

by Charles Gerian

The parade marshal for Blackwell's Independence Day parade will be U.S. Navy veteran Pat McCurry, commander of the Blackwell Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2855.

“It set me back,” McCurry said when he was named parade marshal. “For the longest time, it wasn't very 'popular' to be a veteran. … It was a different time. But I'm proud and extremely humbled to be representing Blackwell's veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2855.”

McCurry was born and raised in Blackwell. He said that he was inspired to join the military by “[his] Uncle Sam's draft card,” and he added that he chose the Navy because they had "the best uniforms.”

McCurry served from June of 1972 – 1979, and he was a petty officer second class. He served on the USS Paul Revere (LPA-248) and the USS Tarawa (LHA-1) as a hull technician. In this capacity, he performed damage control and worked as a member of a salvage crew.

In that time, he said he got to see “quite a bit” of the world. Hong Kong was one of his favorite locales.

“We had five days of R&R there,” said McCurry. “We were coming off the line, and it was something I'll always remember.”

When McCurry returned to Oklahoma, he got a job. Eventually, he said, he “held every job in Blackwell.” 

“I would wake up sometimes and show up to the wrong job because I had so many,” he laughed. “It was a part of life until I got on at Smith, where I would end up retiring from.” 

McCurry and his wife, Sharon, have eight children. In his free time, he enjoys camping and fishing. One of the things he is most proud of is having been elected post commander of the VFW. 

“It has been a pleasure and a joy in my life being elected as post commander, and helping to find veterans a place [where] they can be to feel safe and comfortable. It is important to me and everyone else at the VFW that we give back to these men who gave so much. We want to offer a great place for them, and we're making great strides right now to make the VFW the best it has ever been,” said McCurry. 

When asked if he would be wearing his uniform during the parade, McCurry laughed and shook his head. 

“I've put on a few pounds since the 70s,” he said with a smile. 

The parade begins at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 4. It will start at the intersection of Main Street and Dewey Avenue, and it will run south to the county fairgrounds.