Perhaps there’s no one more fitting than John Schroeder to lead the 2019 Rome Christmas Parade down Broad Street on Dec. 3. He’s been a part of Broad Street for nearly four decades as he, brother Charlie and their families have been part of Rome’s no. 1 address with Schroeder’s New Deli.
Mills Fitzner, a longtime friend of John’s, served as the presenter during Tuesday’s parade breakfast hosted by Hertiage First Bank at Coosa Country Club. Fitzner delivered a wonderful tribute to Schroeder. Fitzner told of Schroeder’s commitment to three things — his customers, giving area musicians their first time on stage in the courtyard and most of all, his community. (Read Fitzner’s introduction below).
A humbled Schroeder was joined at the podium by his wife, brother, sister Louise and immediate family and thanked the parade committee and the community for their support.
What was special: The placard used to identify the grand marhal was a bit more customized this year. Kay Chumbler of Heritage First Bank, knowing of Schroeder’s musical tastes, ensured a special font was used for the “B” — the same styling as used by The Beatles. Also: a pair of drum sticks was featured as well as a round background, again indicating Schroeder’s love of the drums. Plus the parade’s name itself this year: “Let it be Christmas Everywhere,” a nod to the classic “Let it Be.”
You can watch the ceremony recorded on Facebook Llive by clicking the above image.
Parade Grand Marshal John Schroeder is introduced by longtime friend Mills Fitzner:
“Good morning and welcome to this year’s celebration to announce and honor the Grand Marshal of the 2019 Rome Christmas Parade. My name is Mills Fitzner, and seeing as how I have been waiting for 13 years, since I sold K-98 radio, for an excuse to get back behind a microphone, I’ll try to keep it under an hour…..
“I am here to introduce a person who is the epitome of what Rome is, and what Rome should always strive to be….a person who loves his town, loves his work, loves his personal family and his work family, all 1,000 or so of them over the years.
“This person , along with his brother, started a restaurant in Rome in 1981, when there were only a few downtown. The concept was to bring great pizza and sandwiches made with fresh ingredients and loving care to Rome. It was struggle at first, with even the brothers’ parents helping out behind the counter in the beginning. But with the integration of hard work, music and a love for the community, it became a success, a landmark, and an anchor store in downtown Rome.
“My family moved to Rome, for the second time, in 1985 and we discovered a great eating place to bring our kids. A place that didn’t mind if kids had just come from football or cheerleading or cross country or baseball or whatever practice. It was a place that you could drink a beer with kids around and not feel guilty. It was loud. It was busy. It was happy.
“It was the place that my wife Cheryl and I, and a lot of other Rome parents, taught our kids how to behave by themselves in a restaurant. We would come in with our group and the kids would sit at one table and the parents would sit at another, close enough to control the situation, but far enough away to let the kids enjoy themselves and feel “grown up.”
“This year’s Grand Marshal has promoted live music in Rome for many years and continues to be part of Rome’s vibrant music scene today. Many a fledgling musician from our area has gotten his or her first taste of playing in front of an audience in the restaurant’s courtyard. And how many of us have rocked out to the music of Scattered, Smothered and Covered, The Beatless, or now, the RJs, with our honoree banging his heart out on the drums?
“All of us believe that Christmas is the time of giving, and this person has given as much back to Rome as Rome has given to him. He served on the Downtown Development Authority board for more than 15 years and still works with the authority. He has received the William M. Fricks award in recognition for longevity in business and service to historic downtown Rome.
“There are too many accolades and activities to list here, but I’d be leaving out his most beloved organization if I didn’t mention DIGS, Developing Independence and Growth. DIGS supports mentally and developmentally challenged adults by providing them with a range of social activities and opportunities for independent living. This year’s Grand Marshal not only serves on DIGS’ Board, but his restaurant has also been a work training site for DIGS.
“At this point, all of you already know who I am talking about. A man who has served delicious food, served up great music, and served his community for decades. Your Grand Marshal for the 20-19 Christmas parade, John Schroeder!”
Media release: The Christmas in Rome Committee held its annual Grand Marshal breakfast on Tuesday at Coosa Country Club. This community event is sponsored each year by Heritage First Bank.
Each year the committee recognizes a person who has gone above and beyond in service to the Rome Floyd County community. The Committee this year announced that John Schroeder has been named Grand Marshal of the 2019 Rome Christmas Parade. Schroeder will lead the parade which will be held on Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. on Broad Street in Rome.
Schroeder is most well known for his professional life as co-owner of Schroeder’s New Deli on Broad Street for the past 38 years. Upon opening the Deli, he immediately became involved in the downtown community where he served on the Downtown Development Authority board for 15 years.
However, his commitment to Rome and Floyd County did not stop with his professional work. A tireless volunteer, he worked with the chamber to set the 20/20 vision for Rome to grow and prosper. He served on the Parkinson’s Board for six years and on the vestry of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. He presently serves on the DIGS Board and Schroeder’s is a job site for the Floyd County Special Ed program. He has served as a mentor for Floyd County Schools.
John has been an active supporter of the arts in Rome. As a musician he has played in numerous benefits for a variety of nonprofits in Rome. Nominated by Scott Moody, Scott said “John is one of the kindest, most sincere and honorable people I know. He would help anyone who needed help. He believes deeply that all people have goodness within and he never hesitates to do for others. He loves Rome. He recognizes the power of positive energy and people with vision working together to create a place where we can all thrive and call home.”
The committee also recognized several others who have been of service through the years to the Rome Christmas Parade. Retired parade judges Carol Greissinger, Barbara Ivey and Pam Roberts were recognized for their service of more than 25 years as judges of the Parade. The family of Doug Rogers was presented with a plaque to commemorate his many years of service as the jolly one we always wait to see at the end of the parade. Parade Committee Secretary Faye Hicks was also recognized for her 34 years of service and as Chairman Jerry Rucker stated “Faye has been an integral part of keeping our records and books all these years.”
About the parade: The theme this year is “Let it be Christmas Everywhere” and it begins at 6:30 p.m. at First Avenue and Broad Street, concluding with the tree lighting by City Hall. The lineup can be found at romechristmasparade. Rain date: Dec. 5.