“It’s all about the kids. I love to see the smile on their faces.” That’s the answer Jim Dokken gives when asked why he volunteered to take over organizing the Moorhead store’s involvement with community parades this year, a huge task that has included expanding the number of parades entered. Jim has been responsible for overseeing and carrying out the logistics involved with delivery and pickup of equipment, organizing participants, working with the marketing team to promote RDO to the community, and running the ship come “game day.”
Is it a lot of work? “Ohhhhhh,” is all Jim can muster. “But it’s all worth it. To see those happy kids and be able to partner with RDO employees from outside of my location, that makes all the hard work worth it.” Jim’s energy and enthusiasm for parades is noticeable and contagious to his coworkers, including new hire Nick Arndt, who jumped on board to help Jim’s efforts.
“Being a new employee, I first was eager to help with the parades as a way to get to know my teammates outside of work and just get involved with RDO in any way I could. After my two boys (ages 5 & 8) and I helped with Horace Bean Days and Sabin Harvest Days, we were hooked. My boys had a blast, and I did too. We moved to the Fargo Moorhead area from a big metro city -- there’s just something very special about these smaller community parades,” Nick says.
The RDO parade volunteers have been assembled primarily through word of mouth, with a core group that has included diehards Stuart (Moorhead Service Technician) and Roque (Hawley Receptionist) Grandstrand, along with their children (including a newborn!), making it a family affair. “It’s fun for the whole family to participate in, the kids love to throw candy out –and eat it!” said Roque.
But, after having a last-minute shortage of RDO participants for West Fest, an email went out to the MHD and Fargo FSOs asking for help. “The response was immediate and very impressive,” Nick said. “We unfortunately had to even turn a few people down because we were only allotted so many Gator entries by the parade organization!” The encouraging response has led to discussions regarding a more formal or expanded parade operation for 2018 utilizing online sign-ups. “Parading is a RDO team-building opportunity for sure, and we’d want as many employees and their families as possible locally to be able to get involved.”
Starting with Horace Bean Days and Sabin Harvest Days on August 19, RDO went on to represent at the Barnesville Potato Days Parade (where Andrew Week and Danny Schultz of the Moorhead location served as Grand Marshalls), Greater Moorhead Days, and the West Fest Parade in West Fargo. The Parade “season” wrapped up with the NDSU and Concordia homecoming parades Saturday, Sept 30.