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New Year comes up roses for Lebanon couple
Jan 04, 2013 4:00 pm
Lebanon’s Glenn and Cathy Stribling didn’t prepare to ring in the New Year by watching the ball drop in Times Square, viewing a fireworks show or clinking champagne glasses.
The Striblings celebrated the week leading up to the New Year by getting glue on their fingers and “pushing petals.”
The Striblings belong to the Petal Pushers, an elite corps of volunteers who travel from all over the country to gather in Pasadena, Calif., each year. These volunteers spend the week attaching thousands of roses, carnations, lilies, mums and other flowers, as well as natural materials such as seeds, coffee beans and leaves, to create the majestic beauty and splendor of the floral floats riding down Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard during the annual Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day.
“This is my first year involved with decorating for the parade, but Cathy came out to Pasadena to help in 2006” Glenn Stribling said. “She told me I need to witness the incredible experience she had building the floats, and that I needed to see the beauty of the finished floats in person.”
Many of the Petal Pushers come to decorate the Lutheran Hour Ministries float — a Tournament of Roses perennial for 63 years and the only Christian-themed float in the parade. The float’s sponsor, St. Louis-based Lutheran Hour Ministries, is a Christian outreach organization named for the Lutheran Hour, the world’s longest-running Gospel-centered radio program.
A large number of the 5,000-member-plus Petal Pusher organization’s volunteers help out on up to eight other Rose Parade floats as well — turning the week into one of the largest servant events in the country. It’s an opportunity for many to make new friends, network and share expressions of the faith that for them gives true meaning to this experience.
“I don’t think people can understand the incredible number of volunteers and detailed work involved in building these floats until they witness it firsthand,” Glenn Stribling said. “It is such a team effort, and everyone takes such pride in what they are doing. We have loved getting to know the other volunteers from all across the country.”
The 124th Rose Parade presented by Honda, under the theme “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” was watched live on television by about 40 million Americans and by millions more around the world. The New Year’s Day parade this year featured 42 floats composed of around 40 million flowers among the 91 units that also included marching bands and equestrian units.
“There is overwhelming joy knowing you helped build a small part of what is seen during the parade on New Year’s Day,” Glenn Stribling said. “We told all of our family and friends to watch for the Lutheran Hour Ministries float on TV.”
For information on the Petal Pushers and its volunteer opportunities, visit petalpushers.org.