West Alabama Christmas Parade grand marshals announced

Christmas Parade

The Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority today announced its choice of grand marshal for the 45th annual West Alabama Christmas Parade.

Grand marshals include Nancie Blewitt, Jheovanny Gomez and Pam Parker.

Nancie Blewitt, has lived in Tuscaloosa for the past 47 years and has worked tirelessly as a swim coach and instructor, teaching upwards of several thousand children to swim. If you learned to swim in Tuscaloosa, odds are good Blewitt was your teacher.

Blewitt encourages organizations to sponsor swim teams and organizes summer meets including the Tuscaloosa City-County Swim Championships and annual swim-a-thon benefitting Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Alabama. Blewitt is a former Crimson Tide Aquatics coach.

Blewitt formerly taught part-time at the University of Alabama and Stillman College and is currently a part-time math instructor and tutor at Shelton State Community College. Additionally, Blewitt is the founder of the Saint Mark United Methodist Church Food Pantry, which has been serving the Tuscaloosa area for 30 years.

In 2016, the Bowers Park Pool was named the Nancie Blewitt Swim Complex in honor of her accomplishments.

Jheovanny Gomez moved to Tuscaloosa in 1999 to study English at the University of Alabama English Language Institute and has set a precedent for combining business and civic duty in the local community. In 2001, Gomez helped open the first Jalapeños Mexican Grill in Tuscaloosa and is now the co-owner and manager of three Jalapeños locations: two in Tuscaloosa and one in Northport.

Gomez has served in leadership positions within various organizations including the Diverse Business Council of West Alabama, the Druid City Business League, and the Boys and Girls Club of West Alabama. Gomez is also the current Vice President of Membership and Investor Relations for the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and a member of the Commerce and Information Advisory Committee for Holt High School.

Most recently, Gomez was inducted into the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame (2021).

Dr. Pam Parker is an n Athens native who earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Alabama and has dedicated her life to helping others receive the same educational opportunities afforded to her. She is the former Vice President of Advancement at the University of Alabama, and the founder of Philanthropic Partners, LLC. Countless organizations throughout Alabama have benefited tremendously from Parker’s fundraising abilities.

She has also been an active member of Leadership Alabama, Junior League of Tuscaloosa, the University Club, Counseling Ministry Professionals, and served on the Tuscaloosa Bicentennial Commission.

Parker’s most recent focus is a collaborative effort with the University of Alabama Honors College, Rotary Club and Tuscaloosa city and county schools to found Reading Allies, an innovative reading initiative to improve literacy among elementary school students in Tuscaloosa and Alabama.

Parker was named the 2019 Citizen of the Year by the Tuscaloosa Civitan Club and the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.

If you’re interested in participating in the parade, you can learn more right here.

The annual tree lighting is Dec. 6 at 5:15 p.m., and the parade begins at 6:30.

This year’s parade has the theme Super Heroes Celebrate Christmas.

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