Retiring Medina police chief to be honored as parade grand marshal

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 November 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Medina Police Chief Jose Avila directs traffic on Oct. 30 during Beggar’s Night in downtown Medina. Avila will serve as grand marshal of the Parade of Lights on Nov. 28.

MEDINA – The grand marshal for the Parade of Lights on Nov. 28 is a familiar figure in Medina.

Police Chief Jose Avila has led the parades, driving ahead of the floats in his police cruiser. That will continue with the upcoming parade. Avila didn’t want special treatment, to be up on a float, said Jim Hancock, the parade chairman.

“He wants to ride in his police car,” Hancock said. “He’ll be out in front of the parade doing his job just like he wants to.”

Avila is retiring at the end of the year. he has been police chief the past 17 years.

Hancock said Avila has been supportive of the many downtown and community projects, from the Parade of Lights, Beggar’s Night, Civil War Re-enactments, Classic Car Cruise-Ins and numerous other events.

The police chief puts in extra time for the events, especially when sections of Main Street are blocked off. He doesn’t complain about the extra work, Hancock said.

“We just want to say thank you,” Hancock said. “I don’t think people realize all of the stuff that he does. He is a really good guy who is well-respected in Medina.”

Avila will be given a chance to make opening remarks to kick off the celebration at Rotary Park at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 28. He will also flip the switch on the community Christmas tree at 5:45. Avila will then have to hustle to get back to the front of the parade caravan. The parade starts at 6 p.m.

The parade usually includes 30 to 35 floats. The grand prize has been increased this year from $500 to $1,000 for the top float.