SPARTA, NJ — The Sparta Elks have announced Donna Jenkins will be the Grand Marshal of the Fourth of July parade this year. The Elks held their annual Parade Marshall’s brunch in the lodge on the boardwalk on Sunday.

The Elks announced Jenkins had been selected from the “many deserving candidates to serve as the ceremonial leader of the parade.”

“I want to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the Elks Club for this beautiful and humbling honor,” Jenkins said. “I am deeply grateful to them, my family, the citizens of Sparta, the Ski Hawks and all of the people that have blessed my life all of these years.” 

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Jenkins has lived in Sparta since 1981. With husband Joel, they have raised their children Brett, Damon and Aaron. For 28 years Jenkins has served the community as the Recreation Program Coordinator, creating events such as Visit with Santa, the award winning Winter Carnival, Breakfast with the Easter Bunny, Halloween Festival and more, working with the Sparta Township Recreation Advisory Committee. 

She has been the director of Camp Sacagawea “where so many children find excitement and happiness in an unplugged environment,” according to the Elks statement. Jenkins recently announced she will be retiring from the recreation department.

The whole Jenkins family have been active with the Ski Hawks for 32 years. Though she never competed herself, she has worked behind the scenes and is considered the matriarch of the Ski Hawks. 

Jenkins has been a member of the Eastern Star charitable organization for 10 years, the Elks announcement said. She has raised “tremendous amounts of funds for various research and scholarships, serving as the Worthy District Deputy and Worthy Matron during her tenure with the organization.

As if that were not enough, Jenkins was also one of the founders of the Sussex County Women’s Softball League

“It has been said ‘In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it only with gratitude that live becomes rich,’” Jenkins said. “If that is the case, I am richer than I deserve. Thank you everyone and God bless.”

The Elks Fourth of July parade will travel down East Shore Trail, through White Deer Plaza and up to Mohawk Avenue School. It is scheduled to step off at 11 a.m. on July 4.

The fireworks over Lake Mohawk are scheduled for Tuesday, July 3 at dusk.