Jim Robertson to be ECC's parade grand marshal
During this year's Community Daze celebration in East Carbon and Sunnyside, local officials will honor two residents who have been helping the small community to thrive for the better part of a century.
Former Carbon County Sheriff and town mayor Jim Robertson will be honored as the 2011 Community Daze Grand Marshal, a title fitting for a man who served on the front lines for his country and his county for nearly 60 years. East Carbon officials will also honor Harold "Hap" Summers during this weekend's celebration. Not only is Summers older than the town he resides in but he is ready to jump into his second century of life.
While both men have spent the better part of their lives in East Carbon, Robertson was born in Cochise County Arizona in 1930, the second oldest of five children.
"When I was born my father owned his own business," said Robertson in an interview on Wednesday. "He lost it however around the time of the depression and went to work in law enforcement for the Arizona Highway Patrol."
Robertson's mother worked as a school teacher, who according to the Grand Marshal, took a few years off to raise five children, while his father went to work as a Pima County Deputy Sheriff in Tuscon.
The family would eventually move to California where Robertson finished high school, joined the Navy Reserves and went to work for the forest service.
"After some time, I decided bouncing around in the ocean wasn't my cup of tea," laughed the former Carbon County Sheriff. "So I decided to join the United States Army and I stayed for 20 years."
During his military career, Robertson saw combat in Korea, participated in the 1949 airlift in Berlin, served as a guard at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. He also took some time to marry his sweetheart Vangie in 1956.
"It was Vangie's family that brought me to Utah," explained Robertson. "We came here in 1969 so I could look for employment and we just never left."
With 20 years in the military under his belt, Robertson wasn't exactly chomping at the bit to get involved with law enforcement but due to a difficult economy and the promise of a decent job in East Carbon, he did just that.
"I took a temporary job in the Carbon County Sheriff's Department and I retired 29 years later," said the two term sheriff. "It's funny how these temporary assignments seem to last."
After getting his toes wet in the 1978 and 1982 county elections, Robertson was appointed Carbon County Sheriff in 1988 to finished the term of Barry Bryner who had stepped down from the position.
"That was an interesting time in my life," explained Robertson. "For awhile I served as both the county sheriff and Mayor of East Carbon, both appointed positions."
Robertson was elected to a full term in 1990 and re-elected in 1994 before retiring after 29 years of service in 1998.
"I enjoyed everyday working as a law enforcement official," he said. "I have such a deep appreciation for the law and the great people I had the pleasure of meeting while I was sheriff of Carbon County. When I go into the store now many people still recognize and its funny, I have a hard time remembering some people but if I arrested a person, you bet I remember their name."
In addition to staying active with the statewide sheriff's association, where Robertson works to bring scholarships to Carbon County residents, the local resident also serves as the President of the East Carbon Rotary Club.
"Rotary is a very important organization. In fact it's the only civic organization still operating in Sunnyside and East Carbon," explained Robertson. "Actually I think the Rotary Club should be honored as the Grand Marshal of this parade."
In the much the same manner as Robertson, Harold "Hap" Summers has lived out a long and civic minded existence in the communities of Sunnyside and East Carbon.
Summers will turn 100 years-old on July 24th of this year sharing, his centennial with the city of Price.
According to his son Danny, Summers was born and raised in the East Carbon subdivision of Columbia, sharing a life experience that echos with many here in Utah's Castle County.
"My father worked most of his life for either the railroad or in the coal mines, in fact we figure he has served for 79 years with the United Mine Workers of America," explained Danny. "As far as both the local union and the city of East Carbon go, my father has been there since the beginning."
Both Summers and Robertson will be honored during the Community Daze parade, which will start at 10 a.m. on July 9, making its way from Miners Trading Post down Highway 123 toward day-long festivities at the Sunnyside Park.