Halversons will serve as parade’s grand marshals
By Brenna Holland
They have served as the beginning and end for the Liberty Lake Fourth of July parade for countless years, and now they will finally get to see everything in between.
This year's Fourth of July Parade grand marshals are Harley and Lorraine Halverson, whose lakeside house has stood as a landmark for the start and finish of the parade. Both are public servants, passionate about their community and lifelong learners who seek to better the Liberty Lake community.
The couple met while doing graduate work at Stanford University. Harley was pursuing a master's degree in electrical engineering, and Lorraine was acquiring her master's in education. They met through Stanford's Lutheran Student Association; Harley was the president and Lorraine was the secretary. The couple began dating at the end of the first year after they met and were soon married that summer.
"In order to date her, I had to marry her," Harley Halverson said.
The Halversons have now been married 55 years.
Upon graduation, Harley began work at Hewlett Packard in the Bay Area.
"I knocked on the door and asked for a summer job; I stayed for 35 years as a summer student," he joked.
Harley and Lorraine moved to Liberty Lake in 1980 when the Hewlett-Packard facility – now the Meadowwood Technology Campus - was created on the east side of Molter Road. The Halversons settled into the community with the two youngest of their four children.
They quickly began to serve the Liberty Lake community, organizing the first Central Valley High School grad night party at the Convention Center in downtown Spokane. The theme was "San Francisco," with beautiful murals of the city landscape, an imported cable car and a night full of entertainment. Lorraine devoted a year to plan and execute the festivities; however, she admits she "underestimated the cleanup." The night was a success, and the Central Valley Grad Night Party is a lasting tradition that continues today.
Lorraine was also one of the founders of the Liberty Lake Yard Sales. With the help of friend and neighbor Betty Button, the ladies organized their neighborhood to collectively hold yard sales on the same day. The event, which celebrated its 20th anniversary June 8, blossomed into a community-wide, annual event under her leadership.
"Now Kiwanis does such a good job of putting on the event, and The Splash does an amazing job with advertisement and putting together the maps," she said. "It's so much fun to see how it has grown."
Harley served as an elected commissioner for the Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District for more than 14 years. During his time there, he helped spearhead LLSWD's programs and initiatives banning and limiting phosphorous (typically found in fertilizers) because of its environmental impact on local watersheds. He also helped reorganize LLSWD infrastructure and lake management in efforts that have created a lake that he says is "1,000 times better than the lake during the '70s."
The Halversons favorite part of the Fourth of July celebrations is watching all the kids -especially their own grandchildren - enjoy the parade.
"After all, it is a kids' parade," Lorraine said.
To celebrate the 25th year of the Fourth of July Parade, the couple is excited to see the entire parade route. Lorraine and Harley usually enjoy the splendor of the day from the comfort of their own home, which benefits from proximity to the pre-parade lineup and the end of the parade – which launches several post-parade festivities that can also be taken in from the Halversons home.
The Halversons remain active members of the Spokane community. Harley is a member of a local Rotary Club, and Lorraine teaches at The Barton School in Spokane, working with mostly Russian and Ukrainian immigrants.
"It's nice because Harley and I traveled to the region during the '90s," Lorraine said. "My students are always surprised when I know where they are from."
The Halversons are also intrepid travelers who have visited countries such as Spain, Portugal, South Africa, Costa Rica and Italy. They enjoy being involved in their church, spending time with their grandkids, and remaining current with the news through Christian podcasts.
Despite decades of investment in the community, the Halversons are modest when asked about being honored as grand marshals.
"We feel very unqualified," Lorraine said.
Ross Schneidmiller, who serves on the committee that selects the grand marshals each year and is president of the Liberty Lake Historical Society, would take issue with that sentiment.
"Harley and Lorraine are unique in that in the past we have honored couples where maybe one spouse is more active with another taking a more supportive role," Schneidmiller said. "Harley and Lorraine are both active in the Liberty Lake community. They have been involved in a variety of activities the minute they got here."
The Halversons have also been viewed as pillars of sage advice and perspective for the community over the years.
"Both have been a voice of reason, and we can always count on them for words of wisdom," Schneidmiller said.
The Halversons, in return, have nothing but high praise for their home of more than 30 years.
"There is so much community spirit in Liberty Lake," Lorraine said. "We love living here."