Robert Reece has been selected to serve as Grand Marshall of Evanston’s 89th annual Fourth of July parade.

Reece will lead the McGaw YMCA unit composed of volunteers, participants and members of the YMCA staff as they commemorate their 125th year of operation.

A long time Evanstonian, Reece has been a community volunteer, businessman and entrepreneur.

He was the first African American to serve as president of the Board of Directors of the McGaw YMCA in 1997, and he continues to devote much of his time to that organization.

He is co-chair of the McGaw YMCA 125th anniversary celebration and also co-chaired “Unforgettable”, a celebration of Evanston’s Emerson Street YMCA which served the African American community from 1909 to 1969.

After 30 years as a top salesman/sales manager for Fortune 100 companies, Reece formed Reece Insurance and Financial Services Co. in 2005.

His other ventures include his involvement as a founding of the Justin Wynn Leadership Academy, an organization that develops leadership opportunities for youngsters, president of the Warren “Billy” Cherry Scholarship Fund which honors his late brother-in-law, coaching through the Fellowship of Afro American Men and serving as the president of the Chessman Club of the North Shore, a civic and social organization that awards over $15,000 annually in scholarships. Reece is married to Patty Reece, a retired District 65 teacher and is the father of Lynn Hammell.

The annual Fourth of July parade has been praised as one of the nation’s best parades and draws spectators from all over the North Shore as well as many out of state viewers.

Between 120-140 units from neighborhood groups to political personalities to marching bands make it a ‘most watched for’ event each summer. The parade steps off at 2 p.m. on July 4 at Central Park and Central streets, dominating the Central Street landscape for over two hours and entertaining spectators of all ages.

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