By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN A recently refurbished Delano Royalty Organization (DRO) parade float was this year’s winner of the Bill Diem Memorial Chairman’s Award.
Each year, members of the Diem family choose a float to receive the recognition.
The honor was created in 2004, in memory of their father, Bill Diem, who served on Delano’s Fourth of July committee for 35 years before he passed away in 2003.
When Bill passed away in 2003, his widow, Sylvia, created the award to keep her husband’s memory alive.
“He loved the Fourth of July celebration,” Sylvia said. “The family just wanted to do something in his memory.”
The DRO float was built four years ago and has had only minor updates to it since then, according to chairperson Lesley Stoddard. The DRO committee decided it was time to spruce up the float, so during the last weekend of June, the committee and volunteers began construction.
“We began to re-cover the float with new materials and changed up the color scheme to incorporate more red, white and blue,” Stoddard said.
The group also replaced the old rope lighting with new LED lights for the night parades.
Dave Nelson had the idea to put an American flag on the float since the theme is patriotic.
“We also incorporated some Delano Royalty past on our new float with the addition of the floating stars,” Stoddard said. The stars we re-covered by Janette Nolan, and the idea to hang them on shepherd’s hooks came from Andy Korba.
“We also made some minor improvements to the sound system and that was done by Luther Workman when he added a couple more speakers,” Stoddard said.
Nelson, Mike Kalthoff, Korba, Jeff Hagen, Victoria Hagen, Lori Elsen, Kristy Korba, Lana Nelson, Angie Kalthoff and Stoddard put in a lot of time and effort to make the float shine. Work on the float was completed in Rick Berscheid’s shed.
The revamped float made its debut during Delano’s Fourth of July Parade, where it received the Diem recognition.
“We were incredibly honored and excited to receive this award and are hoping to bring more back to the community of Delano,” Stoddard said.
Other past recipients of the Bill Diem Memorial Chairman’s Award have included the Delano Destination ImagiNation, Delano American Legion, Maple Grove royalty, Princeton royalty, Winsted royalty, Golden LivingCenter, and Brooklyn Park Tater Daze.