Baker grand marshal for Prescott Daze
PRESCOTT -- Bob Baker was on his way to the Prescott Chamber of Commerce office to nominate someone to be grand marshal for the Prescott Daze parade when he got the news.
"They said you're too late," he said.
What he was told next floored him. The reason why he was late was someone had already been selected: him.
"I've got a gift for gab," the 61-year-old said. "When they told me that, I think I was speechless for three minutes. I had nothing to say.
"It's an honor and a privilege when the people you work with recognize you for trying to make it a better town."
Baker will lead the parade 2 p.m. Sunday that will start at the intersection of Canton and Cherry streets. The parade route winds from Cherry Street to Elm Street before finishing on Washington Street.
Baker has been a Prescott resident for all but one month of his life, ironically, his first, as his father was stationed in California due to World War II. When WWII ended, the family moved back.
His decision to become an active community member stretches back to what his father, Leo, told him when he was young.
"For the town to be good, you have to give to the town," he said. "It makes things better for everyone and you feel better with what you've done."
That consists of being involved in activities such as the Lions club, chamber, American Legion, VFW, coaching his son's Little League, Boy Scouts, singing in the church choir at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Ruffed Grouse Society and Santa's Helper.
Baker also has been a member of the Great River Road Theatre for approximately the last 12-13 years as a jack-of-all-trades, whether it's on stage performing or as set designer.
He said appreciation should go to his wife of 32 years, Kate, for allowing him to get involved in as many activities as possible. The couple has three children and one granddaughter, a nine-year-old.
Since 1975, Baker has been a letter carrier for the Prescott Post Office, a job matching his interests completely.
"I like being outdoors, so I get a lot of that," he said. "I love the people on my route because they're nice and very friendly."
Besides leading the parade, Baker's grand marshal responsibilities include judging floats and meeting with royalties from other communities.
"I'm pleased to act as an ambassador for Prescott," he said.
He scoffs at the notion floated out by Kate that Sunday will be "his day." He feels it's a day for everyone to visit and sample what the City of Prescott has to offer.
"I get to enjoy a little bit more, that's all," he said.
Overall, Baker has seen the city grow in his 60-plus years from 1,000 to 4,000, but its small town values stay the same.
"Everyone knows everyone," he said. "It's a quiet, pleasant, friendly town with nice people."