|For the third consecutive year, 8-year-old Chandler Plante of Camp Verde will lead a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march. The march will begin at 11 a.m. at the gazebo in downtown Camp Verde. VVN/Bill Helm|
|If You Go ...|
|What: Martin Luther King Day march|
When: Monday, Jan. 20 at 11 a.m.
Where: sign up at downtown gazebo
Schedule of events:
11 a.m. March sign up/meet and greet Arizona Sundogs mascot Bernie
12 p.m. March begins at Camp Verde gazebo
12:45 p.m. to 1 p.m. Celebration cake/care pack distribution
1 p.m. Yavapai Apache Honor Guard and Pledge of Allegiance - Chandler Plante
1:15 p.m. Welcome, by Camp Verde vice-mayor Jackie Baker
1:25 p.m. Skit Performance by Camp Verde High School and Camp Verde Middle School student councils
1:35 p.m. Guest Speaker: Freddie J. Avila, retired U.S. Navy.
1:45 p.m. Closing: Chandler Plante, KC's Family Tae Kwon Do black belt candidates; audience will sing We Shall Overcome.
CAMP VERDE - The late Martin Luther King Jr. wanted the world to be a better place.
And so does 8-year-old Chandler Plante of Camp Verde.
For the third consecutive year, Chandler will lead a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in downtown Camp Verde.
"Martin Luther King had a dream, and his dream made a difference to so many people in the world," Chandler says. "Martin Luther King was very special because he never used weapons. He always used words.
"I want more people to come [to our march] every year," Chandler says. "I want everybody to know who he was and what a special person he was."
Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin says the best part about being involved with government "is meeting people like Chandler, someone dedicated to doing something good for the community."
One of five children, Chandler is "by far the most compassionate and sensitive toward [other people's] feelings," says Janice, Chandler's mother.
"When Chandler was very young, around the age of 3 or 4, he would cry when we read him biographies about JFK and Abraham Lincoln," she said. "All of Chandler's family is very proud of him. I really hope that when the communities and surrounding communities come together for this march and the celebration, not only do they honor Martin Luther King's legacy, but they think of a dream that they might have and accomplish their dreams someday, too. And, while doing it, they spread love and joy to others."
Monday's MLK Day festivities will begin at 11 a.m. at the downtown gazebo with a sign-up and meet-and-greet with Bernie, the mascot of the Arizona Sundogs. At noon, the march will begin. Following the march, Camp Verde Vice Mayor Jackie Baker will speak to the crowd, followed by presentations by the Yavapai-Apache Honor guard and the Camp Verde High School and Camp Verde Middle School student councils. Chandler's uncle, retired U.S. Navy logistics specialist first class Freddie J. Avila, will be the guest speaker.
Chandler will also make an address.
"We should all follow our dreams like Martin Luther King," Plante states in his speech. "He followed his dream and I follow my dreams. If I didn't follow my dream of bringing people together to honor Martin Luther King's legacy by marching and celebrating in Camp Verde, then we might all be sitting at home playing with electronics or watching TV."
"We are very proud and honored to have this young man as our son," says Robert Plante, Chandler's father.
-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42