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Longtime Cascade Valley Hospital volunteer honored by his community

Jul 12, 2019, 11:00 AM
Cascade Valley Hospital volunteer, Jerry Vanney honored as Grand Marshal in the 2019 Arlington Fourth of July Parade
Jerry accepts flowers and balloons

Members of the Arlington Fire and Police departments rolled up in front of Jerry Vanney’s home on a recent sunny day to ask the longtime community volunteer a question: Instead of riding in the fire truck in Arlington’s annual Fourth of July parade, how would he like to be the parade’s “main guy” as the parade grand marshal?

With his ever-present big smile on his face, Jerry quickly answered yes and on the Fourth of July he proudly rode in a bright yellow, convertible Chevrolet SSR through downtown Arlington, enjoying the adoration and cheers of hundreds of people.

Jerry’s life story is one of family, support and the love of a community. His brother’s wife Kathy shared the details in writing the following:

“Jerry was born December 19, 1964 at Everett General Hospital in Everett. At birth, he weighed nine pounds. He was the child of alcoholic parents. Jerry’s weight dropped to 3 ½ pounds at the time of his adoption by Don and Norine Vanney when he was 3 ½ months old. His weight loss was attributed to not having been fed or even held. Prior to his adoption, he suffered a head injury which caused a form of atrophying of the tissue in one quadrant of his brain, limiting his mental development.

As a result of his disability, Jerry will never be able to live on his own. He will always require one-on-one supervision. He does not read or write and has no concept of money. Jerry resides in his family’s home with his brother Don and his wife Kathy, where he will always be in a familiar environment.

Jerry was very fortunate to be adopted by an extraordinary couple who made him a part of their lives and nurtured him in such a way that he has grown and matured into one of the most remarkable men one might meet.

Jerry plays guitar and sings with Voices of the Village, Village Community Services’ performance ensemble. As a member of the band, Jerry has the opportunity to perform live music to audiences at venues throughout Washington State.

Jerry participates in multiple Special Olympics sports for the Marysville program. Three seasons of the year, he participates in volleyball, basketball and athletics (track and field). Jerry has brought home too many medals and awards to count.

Summer season is “time off” from sports to relax and spend time with family and friends camping. Jerry also enjoys the outdoors during hunting and fishing seasons. He is still trying to catch “Grandpa” out of Curlew Lake in Republic.

Jerry went to Arlington schools until the age of 9 at which time he transferred into the Marysville School District and graduated in 1986.

For the past 33 years, he has volunteered for Cascade Valley Hospital. He has worked in a variety of departments and currently works in the kitchen where he is able, with some supervision, to do light cooking, preparing foods and other kitchen related functions.

Jerry Rides in 4th of July ParadeJerry is a wonderful, caring and giving person. Once he is shown how to do a job, Jerry becomes a leader in performing that task and becomes the “go-to” guy for assistance and advice. He is always well behaved and determined to please everyone!

or the past 20 years, Jerry has always ridden in the front of the fire truck for Arlington’s Fourth of July parade. This year his dream came true and he was honored with the Arlington Fire and Police departments coming to his home and asking him if he would be the Honorary Grand Marshal of the 2019 parade. Of course, he accepted and said YES!”

Everyone at Cascade Valley Hospital and Skagit Regional Health congratulates Jerry on this wonderful honor. Thank you for your many years of service to the community!


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Last post : 07/19/2019