MONTICELLO — When Amber Oberheim and her family attended an honor parade in Mahomet June 19, it made an impact.
Her daughter, Avery, asked why there wasn’t a similar event in her home town of Monticello.
Taking up the challenge, friend of the family Tara Ganley started making calls to gauge interest. Assured that there was plenty, the Oberheim family worked with Monticello Main Street to add an honor celebration and parade to Main Street’s annual back-to-school event Aug. 7.
“The Oberheim girls wanted to do this, and we just started making it happen,” Amber Oberheim said.
“It’s something that I want to make sure our police, fire, EMS and dispatch can get a very good understanding of how much they are appreciated and respected.”
The back-to-school event will be held in downtown Monticello from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, followed by the parade through Monticello at 6:30 p.m. The day ends with 3 Gun Whiskey playing at 7:30 p.m. on the courthouse square, which will include an outdoor libation area.
The community showed up en masse to honor Amber’s husband and Champaign police officer Chris during funeral processions after he was killed responding to a domestic violence call in Champaign in May.
Monticello Main Street Director Shelly Crawford-Stock said the Aug. 7 event expands the tribute to include police, fire and ambulance personnel; dispatchers and veterans — hopefully in a day of celebration.
“This is purely to honor those folks, but in a celebratory way,” Crawford-Stock said.
Main Street originally planned to hold its back-to-school event a week later, but accommodated a request by the Oberheim to move it so her daughters in college could take part prior to heading to school.
It’s just another display of the love that has been shown to her family, Oberheim said.
“That’s the thing about Monticello, and being in a small town. It’s been nothing short of amazing,” she said.
“I am beyond happy to live in a community that supports each other the way the community has supported our family.”
The Aug. 7 celebration in downtown Monticello will include:
3 to 6 p.m. — Back-to-school events, including games, bubble fun, pedal pulls, Kona Ice and the Wienie Wagon.
6:30 p.m. — Honor and celebration parade. The route will begin at Monticello High School, proceed north on Hamilton Street, west on Center Street and south on State Street back to the high school. Police, fire, EMS, 911 and veterans groups can take part. To sign up, go to https://forms.gle/bVLfFBpPhWobRZzn6.
Those wishing to volunteer can sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0c48a5a822a6f94-honor.
7:30 p.m. — Outdoor libation and music by 3 Gun Whiskey begins downtown.