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Parade co-ordinator faced broken leg, other hurdles

Santa Claus Parade co-ordinator Sue Risser

Santa Claus Parade co-ordinator Sue Risser watched the parade Saturday from the Main Street Office. Risser is on crutches after breaking her leg.

Santa Claus Parade co-co-ordinator Sue Risser had a few hurdles to get over in putting a successful parade together this year . . . but even with a broken leg she managed to get over them all.
Risser broke her leg Nov. 3 smack in the middle of parade preparations. She had been sitting with a blanket over her lap when suddenly her business phone rang in her office.
Risser dropped the blanket to the laminate floor and in her haste to get to the phone stepped on the blanket . . . and suddenly her body was going in two directions at the same time. She dislocated her foot and broke it in three places.
Surgery put things right the next day, but Risser has been on crutches ever since, watching the parade Saturday from the safety of the Main Street Office.
“I didn’t want to venture out on my crutches,” Risser said. “Too risky.”
Risser expressed gratitude for the way people rallied to help her after the fall.
“Really the transition from working at the office to working at home went smoothly due to great people who did some of the running for me,” Risser said. “My husband (Dale Risser) was amazing and willing to help in any way he could. He really made things easy on me at home. Eileen (Moses) at Village Greenery took care of the donation deposits, Emily McTighe did the printing of everything . . . and they were all willing to drop things off at my house for me.”
In fact the whole Santa Claus Parade Committee came to Risser’s house for meetings once a week.
“And Arnie Byam set it up so that I could access the Santa Claus Parade e-mail from my home computer. So e-mail and the phone were my best friends,” Risser said.
One of the bigger hurdles Risser had to get over this year was the insurance scare. The Town of Fort Macleod had made a decision to require everyone in a car or on a horse to have $2-million liability insurance, naming the town additionally on the policy. Many parade entrants complied with the request even though council subsequently backed away from the decision.
But it had the effect of scaring off at least one entry, Risser said.
“I think at first it did scare some people, and we did have one who said specifically the reason they were not entering was because of the insurance,” Risser said.
“The majority, however, were positive and able to get us the insurance certificates with no problem. With the town council reversing the decision, things went a little easier.”
“But we do want everyone to know that next year $2-million liability will be a requirement for entry into the parade,” Risser added.
Another difficulty this year was bands heading to the Gray Cup parade in Edmonton on Saturday, Nov. 27.
“We were unable to get the bands we normally have, as they were off to the Grey Cup in Edmonton this year,” Risser explained. “And we also had two bands that had already registered cancel due to the Grey Cup.”
Risser has nothing but praise for the hard-working people of Fort Macleod who put the parade together.
“I really want the community to know what gems they have in the (Santa Claus Parade) committee – John Viens, Arnie Byam, Eileen Moses, Emily McTighe, Martin Ebel, Jody Litle, Helma Hart, Gerda Van Den Biggelaar, and Scott Miller.”
“And the Town of Fort Macleod as well,” Risser added. “The girls in the town office like Gloria Schwindt and Karen Foreman were very gracious in offering help and support.”
Risser praised the volunteers who looked after the thousand and one details that produced another awesome parade.
“The community support has been heart warming,” Risser said. “This year we had numerous volunteers carrying the banners, the donation buckets, signs, marshalling the parade, donating funds . . .”
Quite a few young people stepped up to volunteer, Risser added.
“I heard talk of parents telling their children they need to give back to the community. They called committee members asking how their child could help. That is truly heart warming to hear and see.”
“I just want to thank the committee, the Town of Fort Macleod and the community for all their help, support, understanding and for allowing me the honour of coordinating this year’s parade,” Risser said. “I am so proud of the people of this town and their generosity with the parade. The parade is an important part of our history. Fort Macleod takes pride in putting on the largest Santa Claus Parade this side of Toronto.”