GLADSTONE — The role of grand marshal for the 40th anniversary of Gladfest is not lost on Sid Robbins.
“It’s surprising they selected me for this year with this big anniversary, but I am truly honored and humbled,” he said.
The announcement of parade marshal takes place each year at the September Gladstone Area Chamber of Commerce meeting.
“I’m in illustrious company,” Robbins said of the previous parade marshals in attendance including Bob Ashcroft, Les Smith, Anita Newsom, Rhonda Dugan, Art Hammen, Carol Rudi, Mary Cross, Kirk Davis and Gary Lint.
Robbins thanked Hammen, a former Gladstone councilman and mayor, for getting him involved in Gladfest.
“Years ago, we ran the Kids Corner and dressed as clowns,” he said. “I rollerskated in the parade and I ended up splitting my pants during the parade. That took place in front of the judges. I’m hoping my next experience will be more dignified.”
Jinny Kyle, an ambassador with the Gladstone Area Chamber of Commerce, introduced Robbins to the crowd at the Thursday, Sept. 26 luncheon.
“This year’s grand marshal is truly a man of many talents as he works simultaneously in two career fields, excelling at both. After high school, a higher power called our honoree into the ministry. Then, many years later, our very artistically talented grand marshal graduated summa cum laude, earning a degree in graphic design. Throughout both careers, this year’s honoree has dedicated his life to serving people, organizations and communities who benefit from his time and talents,” she said.
Robbins earned a Master’s of Divinity at Perkins School of Theology, then went across the Atlantic to pastor a Methodist circuit in England. While overseas, he met his wife and they were married two years later. His volunteering spirit was evident early in his career as he served as the harbor chaplain for the British and International Sailors Society.
The ministry brought Robbins back to the United States, serving churches across Missouri in Joplin, Milan, Gravois Mills, Gladstone and Belton. While pastoring, Robbins also volunteered in leadership of the Mid-Missouri Ministerial Alliance and was an elected member of the Gravois Mills town council.
While pastoring in Gladstone, Robbins immersed himself in the work of the chamber and community, Kyle said.
Robbins has volunteered in Gladstone and Joplin as police and hospital chaplain and currently serves on the City Arts Commission. He was first elected to the chamber Board of Directors in 2008, serving for six years, and as chairman of the board in 2011. He returned to the board in 2017, serving a two-year stint as the vice president of special events.
“Not afraid of hard work or long hours, our honoree also serves the chamber and community as co-chair of Bluesfest. Eight years running, this tireless volunteer has grown and expanded Bluesfest and continues to share his artistic abilities to make the event bigger and better. All the Bluesfest T-shirt designs, Gladfest logos, posters and any design work that the chamber needs is produced by his artistic eye.”
Robbins said being part of the chamber is a delight.
“When Art asked me to come aboard, I wanted the chamber to be responsive not only to businesses, but to churches, schools and civic organizations,” he said. “I want to see the improvement for all people. It’s about supporting each other.”
Robbins said his commitment to Gladstone has not been as long as others’ has.
“I’ve done a bit in 15 years,” he said, hesitating on receiving praise for service. “It’s always been fun to be involved. Gladfest adds to the community spirit. It’s a great place to be in Gladstone where we can encourage others to be involved and enjoy home.”