No one saw it coming when representatives from the American Legion Auxiliary showed up to honor the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses (SPTOR) Committee during the organization’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting.
“It took us completely by surprise,” said Brant Dunlap, talking about last week’s visit from American Legion Auxiliary Allied Unit 302 members Rodi Andreescu and Susie Morgan, recognized SPTOR members for their dedicated volunteer efforts in constructing the city’s float that continues its long history of taking part in the Pasadena Rose Parade every January.
Individuals from the committee received certificates of appreciation, acknowledging, as inscribed in part, “their outstanding service and assistance which contributed to the advancement of the American Legion Auxiliary programs and activities.”
“The Los Angeles Legion – Allied Unit 302 has been involved with SPTOR for over 20 years,” explained Dunlap, overseeing the SPTOR meeting at South Pasadena City Hall. “When we need extra hands for projects they show up in force.”
In turn, the float committee lends a hand to the Auxiliary, making it a win-win for both parties. “Most recently there was a fire that burned 11 tiny homes for homeless veterans in West L.A.,” explained Dunlap. “Knowing we were having a rummage sale as a fundraiser, Rodi and Susie reached out to us for clothing. We were able to supply them with needed items, and arranged to have a delivery made to the vets in West L.A. It’s little things like this that can help make a difference.”
It takes an army of support, headed by construction chairs Rob Benjamin and Steve Fillingham, along with Janet Benjamin, the decoration chair, to put South Pasadena’s entry on starting line in time for the Rose Parade. Volunteers will be working diligently through the end of the year on the city next floral masterpiece – “Spark of Imagination,” featuring science teachers, atoms, chemistry books, an array of cranks, twirlers and more as the latest float was designed to inspire learning.
“It is starting to take shape,” said Dunlap. “The front deck is welded. The side skirts are almost 100%. The books have been constructed. The magnifying glass is formed. We have almost completed the engine and hydraulics system for improved cooling. We invite the community to stop by and check it out anytime.”
A construction crew is now working Tuesday and Thursday nights and all day on Saturday. “A team of decorators is getting ahead by cutting and drying petals,” he said. “They also are just about completed with the final colors, types of material needed and getting ready to place the floral orders.”
South Pasadena is used to winning float entries. The city won the coveted Founder’s Award for its “Sky’s the Limit” last January. The 2021 parade was cancelled on account of COVID-19, but a year earlier, the Mayor Award went to the city for its “The Power of Hope” entry.
While the city float is well under construction, Dunlap is grateful for those working long nights and weekends behind-the-scenes to conclude the task. He’s also mindful of the gratitude coming from groups like American Legion Auxiliary.
“For SPTOR to be awarded this honor is extremely humbling, as we are all just trying to make a difference every day,” he said. “I’m fortunate to be affiliated with such a resilient group of community members.”
It’s never too late to get on board and help produce South Pasadena’s newest float, Dunlap saying construction and decorations crews welcome the support.