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Hammond Native Kent Brown to be Grand Marshal of Hammond Sesquicentennial Parade

Kent Brown, a native of Hammond who graduated from Atwood-Hammond High School in 1981 will be the guest of honor as Grand Marshal of the parade to be held at noon.

By DORIS ELMORE
Staff Writer

The Village of Hammond will be in the spotlight this weekend, July 21, 22 & 23, as they celebrate 150 years of their village.

Kent Brown, a native of Hammond who graduated from Atwood-Hammond High School in 1981 will be the guest of honor as Grand Marshal of the parade to be held at noon. Registration for the parade will be at 11 a.m.

He stated, “I was very honored to be asked to serve as the Grand Marshal of the Sesquicentennial parade. I was 10 years old during the Centennial celebration in 1973, and have remained proud to call Hammond my hometown. The people in and around Hammond played a huge impact on my life and I’ll always be grateful to have grown up in such a wonderful community. My family’s history there stretches back to the 1800s. There is a reason it was called ‘The Best Little Town in the Cornbelt’ during that celebration in 1973 and I couldn’t be prouder to be involved with this celebration 50 years later.”

Brown has a long family history in the community of Hammond since 1897, as well as his mother, Betty J. Fisher Brown, who was born in 1923. Kent was a member of the 1981 boys’ basketball team that won a school-record 25 games on the way to a state Sweet Sixteen appearance, the deepest run in the state series after the two-class system was established.

Kent recently retired following a 36-year career in collegiate athletics administration, including 32 years at the University of Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1987. He began his career in the Fighting Illini Sports Information Office that fall, until being named the Sports Information Director at Kansas State in 1996. Following four years with the Wildcats, Brown returned to Illinois in 2000 where he led the Athletics Communication staff as an Associate Athletics Director for the past 23 years.

Brown earned two degrees from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s in journalism in 1987 and a master’s degree in kinesiology in 1989. During his athletics career, Brown led communication efforts for 17 football bowl appearances, two men’s basketball Final Four appearances, while working with several hall-of-fame coaches and players.

Kent and his family, comprised of parents Richard and Betty Brown, along with siblings Jim, Jerry and Linda, lived on a farm located on Rt. 36, one and a half miles east of Hammond from 1963 until the early 1980’s.

He and his wife Amy have a combined family of six children and five grandchildren while residing in Urbana. Amy is the CEO of the Don Moyers Boys and Girls Club in Champaign-Urbana.

Several Hammond residents have worked very hard to make this three-day event a weekend to remember and celebrate 150 years of Remembering Hammond. According to Angie Parsons, they do not have specific committees, just people volunteering to work to make it special. The list includes: Ken Yeakley, Jacque Baer, Melanie Baer, Mary Ellen Baer, Sharon Eckart, Diane Parrish, John & Amber Drummond, Shari Schable, Jeff Davis – construction, Becky Ponder – marketing, Patty Webb – Little Mr. & Miss Hammond Contest, Beth Slade, Brenda Sebens, Amy Davis, Linda Brown and Katie Davis Himmel – all cookbook, Carla & Neil Dettling-Rachel’s Race, Hammond Fire Department, Melissa Miller and Jon & Angie Parsons.

A great deal of work goes into compiling recipes into a cookbook, and the Hometown Hammond Cookbook, a collection of recipes in celebration of 150 years, is sure to bring back special memories. The cookbooks sell for $15 each and will be available at the Hammond Community Building during the celebration.

Hammond Sesquicentennial festivities will close with a bang. Fireworks will begin between 9:30 and 10 p.m.

In last week’s issue of the Record Herald, we published the Schedule of Events for the many activities of the Hammond festivities. Be sure and check out each event.

There have been many Sesquicentennial celebrations in the area, Lovington-June, Atwood-kick-off June, continues at Apple Dumpling in August, Hammond-July, Arthur-September. Each one has been planned in order to highlight 150 years of their community. Congratulations to all of the towns involved and here’s to the next 150 years…the youth of today will plan the next ones.

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