TOP PHOTO: Manuel Mesa was honored on Thursday evening at the LaFollette Church of God as this year’s Christmas Parade Grand Marshal.

By Charlotte Underwood 

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – A reception was held last evening at 7:00 at the LaFollette Church of God to honor this year’s Christmas Parade Grand Marshal Manuel Mesa.

Mesa was chosen as this year’s Grand Marshal because of his many efforts to give back to Campbell County through arts and culture programs. When choosing a Grand Marshal, the Parade committee looks “for those who give back to the community, making it better than they found it.”

According to the Parade committee, “Mesa has become a staple in regards to arts and culture in our county.”

Mesa is active in multiple organizations around the county, including playing instrumental roles in the Louie Bluie Festival, as well as the Campbell Culture Coalition, among others. He has headd up multipe youth art outreach projects, and has donated countless hours of his time to Campbell County.

CORA friend Bill Stanley spoke in honor of Parade Grand Marshal Manuel Mesa on Thursday evening. Manuel Mesa was honored as this year’s Christmas Parade Grand Marshal.

Several community leaders spoke at the reception, commending Mesa on his accomplishments. 

Caryville Cares Playground project leader Brandon Johnson spoke at the reception in honor of Mesa. 

“We are so lucky that he calls Campbell County home for what he adds to our community and for making our days better,” Johnson said. 

“I can’t think of anyone else that deserves an honor like this,” said Pinnacle Resource Center Executive Director Ray Perry. 

CORA friend Bill Stanley also spoke in honor of Mesa. 

Manuel Mesa was honored on Thursday evening at the LaFollette Church of God as this year’s Christmas Parade Grand Marshal.
From left to right are Campbell Culture Coalition board members Culture Coalition Vice President Jennifer Hoffman, Executive Director Manuel Mesa, Leah Kitts and Culture Coalition secretary and treasurer Jocelyn Woods Griffo.

“Mesa has also been a cab driver in New York City (CORRECTION: Atlantic City). He is also a Unites States military veteran,” Stanley said. 

“We are lucky to have him. He helps his community. He gives back, he shows up; he’s a great representative to the community and he helps organizations make connections and find common ground. We are better as a community for Manuel being here, ” Stanley said. 

According to the Parade Committee, Mesa is the only non native to be chosen as Parade Grand Marshal. 

“That speaks very highly of him and his commitment to the community.  He is a valuable assett to any organization that has him. We are very proud of him,” said Parade  Committee member LaFollette Librarian Nancy Green. 

Mesa said he was honored to be chosen. 

“This is an amazing honor for me to be chosen as the Parade Grand Marshal.  This is such a great moment for me. My life and my journey has been doing the things I love,” Mesa said.

He said he was so fortunate and proud to be part of Campbell County and to participate in all the projects.

“Working with people who are passionate about giving back and being a part of this community is something I am so grateful for. There is so much support, enthusiasm and love around what we do and that is what makes it all work,” Mesa said. 

Below are some of Manuel‘s vast accomplishments and responsibilities from over the years. 

1975 – Anthropology Photographer – Dr. Michael Sherman, Flagler College, St. Augustine, Fl

1976 – AA degree – Anthropology/Sociology – Edison Community College, Ft Myers. Fl

1976-77 – Photographer – Sherima Arabian Stallions & Art show circuit south & central Florida – Photography

1977-82 – Hand of Man, Inc. -stained glass studio artist and owner – American Fine Crafts/stained glass/photography

1982 – Bachelor of Arts – Photography/Filmmaking Stockton University, Pomona, N.J.

1982-84 Free lance photographer – NYC, fashion, advertising, Michael Greene Agency

1993 – 2005 – Street Painting Festival, Inc. – co-founder, Director, Executive Producer of large south Florida festival (Lake Worth, Florida) draws 130,000 participants and 500 artists. Recognized as the ‘Largest Street Painting Festival’ worldwide, both in attendance and geographically – covering 14 city blocks

1996 – Master of Science – Environmental Management – Chadwick University, Al

2012-2016 – Tennessee Family Mediator – Rule 31 Tennessee Supreme Court

2006-2008 – Executive Director – CASA of Campbell County, TN – national non-profit agency that advocates for abused and neglected children in the court system

2006-2016 – Campbell Culture Coalition – Louie Bluie Art & Music festival, Board of Directors, President for two years and Coordinator of Youth Outreach Programming 2016-2022 – Campbell Culture Coalition – Executive Director – awarded a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation grant. 

Oversee and liaison of the Louie Bluie Music and Art Festival 

Coordinator of 42 youth art programs in all county schools. 

Grant writing for Louie Bluie and all art outreach programs. 

Campbell Culture Coalition community representative with fiscal oversight for festival and programming.

2019-2022 – Campbell County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Chairman of Campbell County Leadership, Vice-Chairman of Tourism and Marketing Division

2019-2022 – TCAT – Campbell County campus – Advisory Board for several college curriculums, programs and courses of study. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 12/02/2022-6AM)

One Reply to “Mesa honored as Christmas Parade Grand Marshal”

  1. Honored and fully Humbled to be recognized by the Community & Parade Committee, that have done a wonderful job preparing for this years parade and reception. Many thanks to many folks.

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