The 2019 Parade Grand Marshal for the Larimer County Fair & PRCA Rodeo has been chosen, according to a press release from The Ranch events complex.

This year's title goes to WWII veteran and Iwo Jima Survivor Sergeant John "Jack" Thurman. Although he is originally from South Dakota, he has been a Colorado resident since the 1950's and currently lives in Loveland.

Born in 1925 as the oldest of 15 siblings, Jack grew up on a milk farm before deciding to enlist at the age of 18. He joined the United States Marine Corps and was deployed to Iwo Jima in February of 1945.

He married Carol Meier in 1951 and had four children, including a daughter who followed in his footsteps and served 21 years of active duty in Bosnia and Iraq.

His daughter, Karen Thurman, is ecstatic that Larimer County is recognizing her father: "He's an icon of history and it's hard to believe sometimes that he's also my father. I'm so proud of him and we thank the Larimer County Fair for honoring him."

After his time in the military, Jack continued to serve the Colorado Community. He was the District Commander and VFW Commander for 11 years, as well as an internationally-renowned architect who contributed to the engineering building at CU Boulder. His military memorabilia is on display at the National Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, VA.

Jack, who will be turning 94 in September, has many amazing stories to share, according to Gary Sampson, chairman of the Larimer County Fair Parade Committee, who called him  "...a symbol of why we remember them as the greatest generation."

Those who would like to hear his stories can attend the parade tomorrow (July 27th) in Loveland starting at 9:30 a.m. More information can be found at

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