By Sarah Combes
News Star Reporter
The iconic Garvin County band director who has taken the Elmore City-Pernell Badger Marching Band to great heights, will march with his band for the last time on Memorial Day.
Jim Winkle will be traveling with the EC-P band to Washington D.C. to march in the National Memorial Day Parade on May 28, 2012.
To march in the parade, bands must be invited by the coordinators of the parade, and then the bands’ achievements and videos of performances are reviewed very carefully.
Winkle said he was notified of the invitation during the Summer of 2011, and the Elmore City-Pernell Band Boosters voted on whether or not to go in August.
Winkle said Elmore City and the surrounding communities have pulled together to help the band make this prestigious march.
“They’ve helped tremendously! The people of Elmore, especially, have been supportive of every fundraiser and event we’ve had, especially the dinners and donkey basketball game,” he said.
The Wynnewood Masonic Lodge also has helped in matching the band’s earnings in everything.
And then there are so many individual donors.
“I’d like to thank them very sincerely for helping us to be able to participate in such an honorable parade,” Winkle added.
Winkle stated that there were 56 high school students going to march in the parade, plus two sixth graders – Seth Combes and Chase Sawyer – to hold the banner proclaiming the band’s name.
Three people – Julie Harrel, Sabra Landers, and Derrick Tadlock – will hold the American, Oklahoma, and the 45th Military Division flags.
Drum major Savannah Wood, who is a senior and has been in band since the fifth grade, said that she was ecstatic when she found out the band was going to D.C.
“It’s not every day a band our size gets to do something this big,” she said.
Wood is one of the three students asked to be part of the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“I felt honored when Mr. Winkle told me that I would be a part of the ceremony. I was so excited! I’m very thankful that I was chosen to represent not only our band, but Elmore City as well,” Wood said.
Governor Mary Fallin and Representative Lisa Billy congratulated and recognized the band for their achievements.
The band will be touring Washington D.C. to see monuments and places such as the Washington Monument, Arlington Cemetery, and the Smithsonian Institute, just to name a few.
Savannah Wood, Jasmine Landers, and Jordan Bishop have been selected to lay a purple and white wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on behalf of the band.
The band will also be participating in the opening ceremony of the parade with one other band.
“I am extremely proud to take this band to Washington D.C. They will represent our state and community very well,” said a very happy Winkle.
Carolyn Winkle, Jim’s wife, also said, “We’ve got the best and cutest color guard in Oklahoma!”
They both agreed in saying that it would be “The trip of a lifetime.”