A Brooks St. 4th: Party, Parade and Paddle Out

By Steve Cohn, Special to the Independent

Dave Vanderveen, friend of Mark Metherell, and Metherell's daughter Cora, leave the crowd on the beach as they paddle toward second reef at Brooks Street. Photo by David Sager.

This year, over 500 people gathered on Brooks Street to participate in the neighborhood’s fifth annual gathering to commemorate Independence Day.

Before the parade, a flag that flew over an American military installation in Iraq was raised, which was followed by patriotic singing and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

The flag was given to Brooks Street resident Sarah Metherell, whose husband, Mark, was killed in 2008 while training Iraqi security forces. Steve Bennett, who worked with Metherell, pulled the flag to its apex. Brooks Street resident Katherine Radakovich accompanied him in song.

This year, parade organizers gave out awards to the most patriotic decorated home, pet, individual and vehicle.  As a result, everyone and everything was awash in red, white and blue.

The event also includes the “Paddle Out for Freedom,” also created to honor Metherell. The paddlers gathered at Second Reef in a surfer’s memorial circle, and shared memories about Metherell and others who served the nation. This year marked the first time that Metherell’s 4-year-old daughter Cora participated in the paddle out.

Katherine Radakovich leads a song at the flag raising that kicked off the day on Brooks Street. Photo by David Sager.

Festivities ended with a block party, barbecue, pot luck and pie eating contest. A fantastic time was had by all.

Steve Cohn is a Brooks Street resident.

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