SHINNSTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — First responders of Shinnston and Harrison County were honored today with a celebration of a Saint Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Shinnston.
This was the first time Shinnston hosted a Saint Patrick’s Day parade to thank first responders and those with Irish heritage serving the community. It also gave a chance for the city to acknowledge the Winter and Spring sports.
There was plenty of green as well as St. Patrick’s Day-themed floats along with the tune of bagpipes and Irish stepdance. The streets were lined with onlookers who support the area first responders and those that wanted to celebrate their Irish heritage.
“We have been shown a lot of appreciation, I have taken over it’s been going on five years, how the community treats us, the donations they give; the way they come in and take care of the guys, and they really appreciate the job my guys do,” said John Harbert, Chief of Shinnston Police Department.
All area law enforcement, EMS, and fire departments were invited to participate in the parade. Shinnston Police department asked residents celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to do so in a safe manner, to drink responsibly, and to have a designated driver.
“To celebrate, it is something with the firefighters and things, there are a lot of Dutch Irish, Scottish Irish, I mean I am Irish, we all are here, we have a strong Italian community here too, everybody here,” Harbert said. “We are a 3,000 or less community but we also have a large population that travels through. We did a traffic study two years ago of like over 30,000 weekly that come through.”
The parade route started at the Shinnston bridge and floats made their way through downtown towards Clarksburg ending by the Walgreens. Shinnston Police Department said they have a good relationship with all the counties and the sheriff’s office and area police departments working together as a team.
“It is good that the city is recognizing us along with the county. So, they are putting this on for us in honor of us, so it is a good honor and privilege,” said Colton Travis, Captain of the Shinnston Police Department. “Shinnston is very, very loyal to their Irish roots, they love their Irish roots, and it is very, very popular holiday here in Shinnston.”
Shinnston Police Department has a K9 training program where area law enforcement officers can bring their K9 into the office to learn. Police stated that the K9 program is growing every year and that they have a few K9 officers within the department and that they have been able to seize drugs monthly along with assistance from the sheriff’s department.