Grand Marshal Guenther thanks ‘the unsung heroes’

LYNN GUENTHER waves with his wife, Sue, during July 4 parade. They are escorted by friends Dale and Judy Nicol.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
LYNN GUENTHER waves with his wife, Sue, during July 4 parade. They are escorted by friends Dale and Judy Nicol.

Air Force veteran, Vietnam War prisoner and former city manager Lynn Guenther gladly but modestly accepted the Grand Marshal honor for the Hood River July 4 parade, tipping his cap to others besides himself.

Guenther, who was shot down over Vietnam and incarcerated for nearly two years, served as the standard-bearer for the “Heroes of the Heart” theme of this year’s parade.

“When Tom (Yates, parade coordinator) called and asked, it really caught me by surprise and I said, ‘are you sure there’s probably not someone who deserves this honor more than I?’ Tom says, ‘We’ve already voted,’ and hope you’ll say yes.’”

“The real heroes of the heart are the husbands and wives and children left behind in any conflict, who are always wondering, worrying and praying for their loved ones,” said Guenther, who continued flying and serving as an Air Force officer after his Vietnam service before retiring in 1994 and coming to Hood River, where he served as city manager from 1994-2003. Among his ongoing service, he volunteers at Hood River Veterans Service Office.

Lynn and Sue Guenther have been married more than 50 years and raised three sons, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, all of whom were present Wednesday.

“It’s truly an honor to have been asked and to be the Grand Marshal this year, especially for the theme of ‘Heroes from the Heart’,” Guenther said to the 1,000 or so people gathered post-parade at Jackson Park.

“Most of us (veterans) don’t feel like heroes. Because most of us were called to do a job and we did a job. The real heroes were left behind: The mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and children. In my heart, they’re the real heroes because they are the unsung heroes.

“My unsung hero is my wife, Sue. While I was gone, she managed to raise two sons; and when I got back, we brought our third son into the picture, but she is a heck of a woman and my hero forever.

“It’s been a wonderful parade and a wonderful honor to be selected Grand Marshal,” Guenther said. “Let’s have fun and celebrate what this day is all about, our independence.”

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