Second Annual Skylee-Rae Light Parade Sends Message of Hope
The second annual Skylee-Rae Light Parade took place outside Central Washington Hospital over Christmas Weekend.
The parade is comprised of emergency service and other vehicles which have light bars that signal the public to exercise caution, yield the right of way or pull over.
Shawn Ballard, co-owner of Ballard Ambulance, says the parade was inspired by a local first responder who suffered a personal tragedy during the pandemic.
"It came about after a female deputy at one of the local sheriff's offices was pregnant and got sick with COVID at the end of last year. She ended up losing her baby and almost died herself. But while she was in the hospital, a bunch of her fellow deputies and the folks from Ballard who were parked in the parking lot decided to go and light up all the lights on our vehicles to show support."
Ballard says it was later decided that their display could be expanded to include more vehicles that would drive around the entire perimeter of the hospital to show support for everyone inside.
"We had fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, sheriff's vehicles, and even had tow trucks there along with members of different first responder organizations from Chelan County, Douglas County, Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, and the State Patrol. We all did a light procession around the hospital to just try and encourage them and give them hope. There's always a lot of folks who are unfortunately in the hospital this time of year."
In all, Ballard says there were around 25 vehicles who participated this year. He adds that number would have undoubtedly been greater if it hadn't been for the foul weather and the number of incidents several agencies were responding to at the time of the parade.