SPRINGFIELD –The Town of Springfield has named County Rep. Keith and Janet McCarty of East Springfield as grand marshals of the 102nd Annual Springfield Fourth of July Parade.
Lifelong residents, the McCartys’ love for the area is deeply rooted in their connection with the community. For both, being involved is a natural extension of life in a small town where, according to Keith “if something happens, you’re going to see friends and neighbors pretty quick”.
Both Keith and Janet were born at Bassett Hospital, and both can trace family in the area back to the 1800s.
Keith has lived in his family home in East Springfield all of his life. He and three brothers and four sisters were raised there by their mother, Lela McCarty, after dad Tunis McCarty passed away when Keith, the youngest, was just a year old.
Keith and Janet raised their own children, Molli, now 33, and Ryan, 28, in the family home.
Janet grew up on Main Street, Cherry Valley, with one younger brother. Her father, Harris Yerdon, worked for the state DOT, and was a member of the Cherry Valley Fire Department for over 50 years. Janet’s mother Margaret Yerdon taught at the Cherry Valley, and Cherry Valley-Springfield Central Schools for 45 years, and still resides in the Yerdon family home in Cherry Valley.
Keith and Janet first met in high school, when the Springfield High students were bused to Cherry Valley for agriculture classes.
The couple were married in July 1979, riding to the Cherry Valley Presbyterian Church in a horse-drawn surrey with a fringe on top; 25 years later, Janet’s mother brought out the surrey again to take the couple to their 25th wedding anniversary party at the Cherry Valley Firehouse.
Graduating from Sprowent to work for the Town Highway Department, conveniently located right next door to his family’s home, right after graduating from Springfield High School. He ended up working there for the next 38 years, 25 of which he was elected Superintendent of Highways.
Keith was a member of the New York State Town Highway Superintendents Association Executive Committee from 1989 to 1996, and was elected its president for a one year term. And Keith has been Secretary Treasurer for the Otsego County Town Highway Superintendents Association since his retirement from the Highway Dept. in 2004.
Keith says he never thought about running for the Otsego County Board of Representatives until his friend Gene Wells, who was on the Board, passed away mid-term, and someone was needed to fill his seat.
Keith has been representing County District 9, Richfield-Springfield, on the Otsego County Board of Representatives for 11 years now, and currently serves on the Judicial Board, the Wildlife Board, and the Nutrition Council, and the Committees for Public Works, Goal Setting, and Solid Waste.
In addition, Keith has been a member of the Springfield Fire Department for the past 51 years, having joined at age 18, and currently serves as an Officer. And for the past 30 years he has been a volunteer for the Town of Springfield Emergency Medical Services.
After Janet McCarty graduated from Cherry Valley Central School, she attended Albany Business College where she received an Associate’s degree in marketing and retailing. Then she went on to New Hampshire College for a Bachelor’s degree in business education and administration. During the summers she came back to Cherry Valley, working as a waitress and cook at the Otsego Motel Restaurant in East Springfield.
Janet began teaching business education at Gloversville High School in 1975, and in 1980 moved her teaching job to Springfield High, and when the Cherry Valley and Springfield schools merged, she taught at the new school until retiring from teaching in 2007.
Janet is currently employed by CV-S Central School as Claims Auditor. She also works part time as clerk at Country Memories in Springfield Center, and at Go Figures Fitness Center in Cherry Valley.
Janet does a bit of volunteering too. She’s been secretary of the Springfield Fire Department Auxiliary for 36 years. She is financial secretary and session member of the Springfield Presbyterian Church. She is Vice President of the Cherry Valley-Springfield Alumni Association, and the Springfield 4th of July Committee has been privileged to have Janet act as secretary for the past 5 years.
Janet and Keith both have worked as volunteers at the Richfield Springs Food Bank for many years.
Supporting a cause very dear to her, Janet has been an advocate for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life for the past 18 years, and a Relay for Life All Star. And she was honored as the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony for the Otsego County Relay for Life at the Cooperstown Dreams Park this past May.
Janet can be found volunteering as an usher at the Glimmerglass Festival, at school book fairs and craft fairs, as well as organizing banquets for the Alumni Association and wine tasting fundraisers for Relay for Life, and being generally helpful pretty much everywhere.
Keith and Janet have never missed the Springfield 4th of July Parade. As a child, Janet remembers watching her own parents in the parade every year, her father marching with the Cherry Valley Fire Department, and her mother with the Cherry Valley Fire Auxiliary.
Keith started marching in the parade with the Springfield Fire Department in 1965, and for the past eight years Keith has been riding with Janet in the McCarty’s decorated golf cart as the District 9 County Representative.
After the parade, Keith and Janet can always be found fundraising for local organizations at the Springfield Community Center.
Despite all the work, they love the Parade. “It’s like a reunion” Janet enthuses, and Keith agrees that one of the best things about the Parade is coming across people he hasn’t seen for years.
While it’s too early to say exactly what they’ll be riding in the Springfield Parade this 4th of July, Keith and Janet McCarty will surely be riding in style, leading the parade as Co-Grand Marshals in appreciation for their countless contributions to our community. When you spot them, be sure to wave hello, because you can bet they’ll be glad to see you too.