Bluemel Named Grand Marshal, Shear Named “Hometown Hero”

SM School's retiring principal Gayle Bluemel has been named Grand Marshal of the 2011 4th of July parade

The 4th of July Committee announced today that they have named Sierra Madre School’s retiring principal Gayle Bluemel to be the Grand Marshal of the 2011 4th of July, and in the same press release, they announced they have responded to a large groundswell of support for John Shear by creating a new designation, “Hometown Hero.”  Shear is a longtime Sierra Madre resident who captured the imagination of people worldwide earlier this year when he, at age 90, threw himself in front of a runaway horse at Santa Anita Park to protect a young child that was in its path, suffering extensive injuries that required lengthy hospitalization and time off work.

Bluemel, who began teaching at Sierra Madre School in 1990, served for a time as vice-principal under Ty Gaffney, before replacing Gaffney in 2006 upon his retirement.  She recently announced that she will retire effective June 30, 2011.  According to the Committee’s press release, “Under Ms. Bluemel’s leadership as principal, Sierra Madre School’s academic performance has consistently been in the elite of all California schools, earning it the California Business for Education Excellence Honor Roll award in 2009.”

According to Committee Chairman Matt Bosse “The Grand Marshal is a person’s whose efforts over a long period of time have been beneficial to the community of Sierra Madre. The title of Grand Marshal is intended to honor a person’s volume of work, dedication and overall enhancements to our city.”  Using that definition, Bluemel certainly qualifies.  However, the 4th of July Committee chose to also honor Mr. Shear for his heroism, selecting him to be the Parade’s Hometown Hero, a new designation.   According to the Committee’s press release, the Hometown Hero will not necessarily be an annual parade entry; the Hometown Hero designation will be reserved for people that commit acts of courage and honor that go above and beyond serving the community-at-large.

For a list of all those considered for Grand Marshal, read our earlier article.

The 2011 4th of July Festivities will begin with a Community Picnic on Saturday, July 2, 2011 in Sierra Vista Park. From 3– 8 pm there will be swimming, picnics, a home-run-derby and much more. The celebration will continue on July 3rd in Memorial Park from 5-10 pm with the traditional “Bubblewrap Fireworks”, beer garden, food booths and a performance by Mercy and the Merkettes. The 4th of July will start off with a bang and the new 5K Firecracker Fun Run. The run will begin at 7:00 pm in Kersting Court and run a loop along the parade route. The traditional hometown parade will begin at 10 am and will be followed by activities in Memorial Park.

Anyone interested in registering to participate in the 5K Firecracker Fun Run or in the 4th of July Parade can do so online at For more information on all of the 4th of July Festivities, please call 626.355.5278.