WILLIAMSTON, MI (WLNS) – Tonight, cities across mid-Michigan kicked off homecoming parades with lots of floats, spirit, and laughter.
But tonight, at the Williamston High School parade, one man was put in the spotlight and recognized for his loyalty with the school for more than 30 years.
A day he says was one of the highlights in his life.
Tonight, hundreds of people gathered to kick off the annual homecoming parade for Williamston High School.
But for this homecoming, when it came time to pick this year’s grand marshal, a special someone who has been with the school for almost four decades, swept everyone off their feet.
“We had a list compiled of community and school members and the kids went to the list and then nominated, and kind of debated for a while over it, and then unanimously chose Gary for our candidate this year,” Dr. Jeff Thoenes, Williamston High School principal said.
“Whenever I need something done he hops to it right away,” Thoenes said. “And is really helpful and sees a lot that he does on his own and is just a great person to work with.”
Gary Aungst has been proudly cleaning, sweeping, and taking care of the halls as Williamston High School’s janitor for 38 years.
And tonight, he got inside a black Chevy Camaro and waved to the crowd he’s been loyally serving for decades, as the grand marshal.
“Last week when they came and asked me.. I was just., I was just floored,” Gary Aungst said. “I didn’t have any clue whatsoever that the kids thought of such a thing and it’s really a tremendous honor.”
A 20-minute car ride in front of thousands of people, in one of the schools most anticipated parades, meant more to Gary than the students will ever know.
“Outside of my daughter being born and the day I got married, this is probably one of the coolest days that I’ve ever had,” Aungst said. “It really makes me feel good that a lot of my efforts over the years weren’t wasted and I just never really realized that how many people actually paid attention.”
“It’s just a great way for the kids to recognize him for all of his effort on their behalf over the many, many years,” Principal Thoenes said. “Even generations now of hornets that he’s helped serve.”
And hopefully, many more to come.