2020 Float Riders

Lloyd Mearing, EMT, Firefighter, Deputy

Lloyd has been a member of the Paw Paw MI Volunteer Fire Department since 1981, over 38 years! He worked at Coca-Cola in Paw Paw Michigan as a Production Supervisor. He met his wife Lisa there, and married in 1988.

In 1994, Coca-Cola offered to train employees as Medical First Responders, and Lloyd jumped at the chance, being lead for the group at the production plant.

In 1999, he decided to train and get his EMT license while working full time, and started with Pinedale Ambulance part time, while still holding down a full time job at Coke. He then transferred to Van Buren Emergency Medical Services, in 2000, and continues to work there part time during his retirement - he says, “To keep himself off the couch”.

He also was part of the Paw Paw Quick Response Team from Oct 2007 to April 2019, helping VBEMS Ambulance service, running over 1,000 calls a year. His wife Lisa says "At one point in time I knew that he had “brought back” over 13 lives thru CPR and LUCAS , but now we’ve lost count.""

Lloyd’s fortitude in emergency situations, in a way, prepared him for what happened in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001. The day after it happened, Lloyd and four of his Fire Dept. cohorts decided to get in his truck and drive to New York. They felt they had to go, and their families knew they could not hold them back. Not knowing where they were going to stay, or eat, the Michigan firefighters knew they had to help. They spent most of their time assisting the fire station right next to Ground Zero, and even found the Undefeated Stars and Stripes in the ashes on the roof.

Lloyd has gone back to Ground Zero with friends and family, and has paid his respects to those that gave All that horrific day. He is enjoying retirement, even though he still takes some ambulance shifts, goes on the fire calls, and also fills in as a reserve sheriff’s deputy when needed. He and his wife both ride for the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Mounted Division, volunteering for parades, security duty, and parking lot duty with their horses. He has three children, and two grandsons that adore him!

Donna Sanford and "Ceri"

Donna Sanford and "Ceri", a veteran search and rescue K9 team, have deployed on nearly 100 emergency incidents since first certifying in 2010. This seasoned K9 SAR team provides volunteer search and rescue expertise through the California Rescue Dog Association, the largest and oldest volunteer search dog organization in America. Sanford and "Ceri's" deployment experience includes a wide range of nationally known incidents including the Camp Fire at Paradise; the Montecito Mudslides; missing hikers at Joshua Tree National Park; and many other high-profile crises over the past decade. Sanford volunteers her team's thousands of hours of training time and emergency response deployments through CARDA but she is a full-time educator at Bella Vista Middle School in Riverside County, California. Sanford's K9 search partner "Ceri" is an 11-year-old Dutch Shepherd who is nearing retirement after over a decade of vitally important service to the citizens of California.

James Jepsen, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of California, Independent Order of Odd Fellows

"Jamie" Jepsen is a 53-year member of the Order. He believes in the mission of the Order; Friendship, Love and Truth. Jamie retired from the California Department of Corrections after 30 plus years of service. He enjoys traveling the state working and meeting the members of the various lodges in California.

E. Wesley Nelson, Sovereign Grand Master, Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Wes has been a member of the Order for 45 years, belonging in Calgary, Alberta Canada. He believes in Friendship, Love and Truth as the basic guide to the ultimate destiny of all mankind. In August 2019, Wesley was elected as the Sovereign Grand Master and for the past three years has enjoyed traveling throughout Canada and United States visiting the various Jurisdictions.