Ron and Pat Gilliland of Adel have been named the 2014 Sweet Corn Festival Grand Marshals.
Ron was born in Adel while Pat moved to Adel while in junior high school and both are graduates of Adel-DeSoto-Minburn High School. The couple were married in 1961 and have lived in the same home on Prairie Street for 43 years.
Ron and Pat have been staples in the Adel community with Pat serving the City of Adel for 25 years with some of that tenure as City Clerk while Ron has been the A-D-M High School public address announcer at Tiger football, basketball, volleyball and track events for over 40 years. During those sporting events, Pat was frequently found working in the concession stand. She is also very active with her church group and other groups and organizations.
"I was stunned," said Pat, when asked how she reacted after being named Grand Marshal with Ron.
Pat started with the City of Adel in 1983 and retired in 2008, but returned for a two-year stint as budget clerk for the City of Adel in 2011. Ron is active in the A-D-M Alumni Association and was part of the group that created the A-D-M Athletic Hall of Fame. He has also umpired area high school softball games since 1970 and still remains an active official.
The couple has three children, all of which are A-D-M graduates and athletic letterwinners. Their son Bret was a 1980 graduate of A-D-M is currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., working as Deputy Commissioner for the Mountain West Conference, a Division I collegiate athletic conference.
Bret has three children, Morgan, Macy and Brock.
Daughter Deidra is a 1982 A-D-M grad that is currently a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame. She currently lives in San Diego, Calif. and has two sons, Jake and Jordy. She is a federal agent with drug enforcement.
Daughter Angie is a 2014 inductee into the A-D-M Athletic Hall of Fame and is a 1989 graduate. She is currently a teacher and coach in the A-D-M school district.
"I just think that we represent two things," Pat said. "The people of the community that support the community. There are many people in this town that help whenever they can, all you have to do is ask. We also represent the folks who stayed home. A lot of folks left the Adel area, which is fine, but somebody has to stay. There are a lot of people that stayed and support this town." After getting married in 1961, Ron and Pat moved to Sacramento, Calif. in 1962 where Ron was a jet engine mechanic in the Air Force. When Ron’s four-year military term was complete, the couple returned to Adel, where they have remained for nearly 50 years.
"I chose not to go to a large city and work for an airline," Ron said. "That’s the only way I could have stayed in that profession. I think I could still tear a jet engine down. I can still see it – it’s all there."
The Gillilands are a sports family, attending countless A-D-M contests while raising three Tiger athletes. Even during a busy 2014 season umpiring softball, Ron found time to attend a few Tiger softball games.
"Sports have kept us connected with the community," Ron said. One tradition for the Gillilands has been hosting a dinner for the A-D-M track girls after qualifying for the state track meet. Pat makes manicotti while Ron grills chicken for the athletes and their families. They believe the tradition started in 2003. "It’s funny because at the regional track meet the girls get excited for manicotti after qualifying," Pat said. "Last year they did so well that we had 30 or 40 people here."
"We still have girls in college asking if they can come back for the food," Ron said.
The Gillilands are usually shucking corn on Friday nights before the Sweet Corn Festival, but this year Ron will be the presenter at the A-D-M Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony while Pat will be helping with a church fundraiser. The couple has been married 53 years and the last time they rode in the Sweet Corn Festival parade was three years ago.
For their 50-year anniversary, Pat felt uncomfortable having a reception so the couple rode in the Sweet Corn Festival parade and threw out candy.