May was the month of parades.
Retired Army Col. Lonnie Davidson — who served overseas from 1942 to 1946 — was honored with a surprise parade where members of the community honked, waved and shouted their love and thanks for his service before he moved to California.
In a similar fashion, Plant City High School’s baseball seniors received an honor of their own when a massive line of cars cruised through Walden Lake on May 6 to celebrate the eldest Raiders since its traditional end-of-season celebration never happened.
PCHS also hosted a parade for all local seniors that wove through town and ended back at the high school. PCHS then took that mindset a step further and held another “parade” for its staff. The drive-through event was held at the school and acted as a way for the school to celebrate its teachers. They received goodie bags, a free lunch, coupons to local businesses and more. Trapnell Elementary held an island-themed drive-through teacher appreciation party on May 7 at its bus ramp. Teachers got to chat with the principal through their windows, pick up goody bags and enjoy free Kona Ice.
Later that afternoon Robinson Elementary had a similar event, though they used the experience to say goodbye to one of its most beloved teachers. Armetta Jackson worked with the Hillsborough County School District for 44 years and her coworkers, friends and even some of her students lined up in a seemingly endless parade of well-wishers. Jackson sat on a throne and caught tossed flowers, waved goodbye and reminisced memories with the different attendees.
Though there were moments of levity, the reality was that the pandemic was impacting the country in a way none had guessed. The number of infections were soaring with many states falling to even come close to a plateau. Businesses were crippled by the impact of having to have their doors closed for so many weeks and the county debated how much power it had to respond to the pandemic. Many local nurses, like Erin Smude (pictured), volunteered to be sent to COVID-19 hotspots around the country.
Locally the virus brought the city under a microscope. COVID-19 spread rapidly through a Plant City nursing home, drawing attention from across the state as more than 80 residents and staff members tested positive.