Parade honors strong character

January 14, 2005


America's Heroes" will be the theme of the 2005 Patriots Day Parade,

March 5.

Police Chief James Spreine, who served his country as a U.S.

Marine, will lead the parade as Grand Marshal. Honored Patriot of the

Year Marine Lance Corporal Ed Hanke III will represent the young men

and women of Laguna Beach who have put their lives in harms way to


protect our freedom.

Don Williamson, who did yeoman's duty at the Laguna Playhouse and

the Festival of Arts before moving up in rank as director of the

Pageant of the Masters, was named Citizen of the Year.

Junior Citizens of the Year Megan Vick and Tyler Hathaway round

out the honorees. All five will be introduced at the traditional

Parade Brunch, Feb. 6 at Tivoli Terrace. The public is invited.

Reservations are $20 and may be made by calling (494) 494-6016 or

(949) 499-9429.

Spreine began his career in law enforcement in the marines, as an

MP. The former marine -- "there is no such thing as an ex-marine" --

joined the San Clemente Police Department, then moved to Laguna Beach

as a lieutenant under the captaincy of Neil Purcell Jr. in January of


Spreine followed Purcell up the ranks, as captain, deputy chief

and chief, when Purcell retired in 1997, the same year he was honored

as Patriots Day Parade Grand Marshal.

"I have been in every parade since 1981 except one, either driving

Chief Purcell or as chief," Spreine said. "I have seen the others who

were selected Grand Marshals and I am flattered to participate in the

parade in that capacity."

Spreine and his wife, Linda, a lieutenant in the Orange County

Sheriff's Department, are a two-chief family, at least until she

retires Jan. 19 as Laguna Niguel's Chief of Police Services.

She was a sergeant in the Laguna Beach department when they began


"It was the best thing that ever happened to me," Spreine said.

They deemed it in the best interests of department and to keep her

career unblemished by any hint of nepotism for her to leave the

department after their marriage. She signed on with San Clemente, was

bumped back to patrol and rose to sergeant before the sheriff's

office took over the city's policing. Starting as deputy, she again

climbed up the ranks.

"She is one of the finest law enforcement officers I have ever

known," Spreine said.

The Spreines are building a home in Sequim, across Olympic

Peninsula from Seattle, where they will leave after Spreine joins his

wife in retirement, set for late October.

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