Ruthton teen pays tribute to the troops with parade float

RUTHTON – It was two celebrations in one, area residents said. The parade winding its way through the streets of Ruthton was celebrating the town’s 125th anniversary, but because it was July 4, many of the floats also had patriotic themes. Ruthton resident Lizzie Breczinski, 14, said that’s just what she had in mind when she put together a float honoring members of the U.S. military.

“We haven’t had a parade in town for a couple of years,” said Breczinski, and she wanted to do something meaningful. “I started thinking about honoring the troops.”

Breczinski rode on a trailer decorated with flags, yellow ribbons and handmade posters with sayings like “All gave some, but some gave all.” She and her family waved and tossed candy to the crowd.

It was fun to ride in the parade, Breczinski said, but she also wanted to have a float honoring servicepeople because of the sacrifices they make. Her family knew about that firsthand, she said.

“I had a second cousin who was in the military,” Breczinski said. Her cousin, Spc. Joseph B. Cemper, was killed in 2011 while serving in Afghanistan, she said. Cemper’s memory helped inspire the float.

Breczinski said she started making float decorations about a week ago. She traced the lettering for the posters by hand and draped a Power Wheels car in a camouflage blanket to make it look like a military Jeep. Ruthton resident Wayne DeGroot and his daughters, Amy and Brittany DeGroot, lent Breczinski boots and helmets to display on the trailer, too.

Breczinski said it made her feel “really proud” to think of the men and women who fought for their country. And Thursday’s parade was a fitting time to show it.

“I think it was perfect for the Fourth of July. We’re celebrating how we got our country,” Breczinski said.