Bristol Fourth of July Committee General Chairman Ray Lavey has named David Barboza to be chief marshal of the 229th celebration. For Mr. Lavey, the choice was easy. The two had become acquaintances over the past 12 years in their roles in town government and participating in various Fourth of July committees.
“I looked for someone who’s done a lot of good for the town. I like what he stood for on the town council. He does a lot of things quietly for the town. He was on the top of the list,” Mr. Lavey said.
After a clandestine meeting in December during which Mr. Lavey asked Mr. Barboza if he would be this year’s chief marshal, the best-kept-secret in Bristol was kept under wraps until the announcement was made at the Fourth of July Committee Wednesday night.
The proposition came as a surprise to Mr. Barboza who, months before, offered to help with the Fourth of July preparations.
“I told him if there’s something I can do to help you out, let me know. When he came and asked me (to be chief marshal), that was the last thought that came to mind. You could have knocked me over with a feather,” Mr. Barboza said.
He graciously accepted.
“They say it’s Bristol’s highest honor. It’s humbling,” Mr. Barboza said. “To me, Fourth of July is a state of mind.”
As the Fourth of July events and festivities begin to unfold, Mr. Barboza said, his role as chief marshal will be carried out in honor of those who inspired him to become involved in public service. First and foremost, he mentioned his parents, David and Irene Barboza, as well as notable local figures, Hector Massa, the late Col. Matthew Capone, and the late Anthony Iasiello.
Mr. Barboza’s history of volunteer service to the town includes roles in civil defense, the Bristol Fire Department, the Bristol Town Council and the Bristol Warren Joint Finance Committee. He is honored to be named chief marshal.
“What an honor it is to be in this association with people I knew growing up who I admired and respected,” he said.
This year, Mr. Barboza said, his family will give up the spot near the corner of Hope and Franklin streets where they’ve watched the parade for the past 25 years. Instead, they will be part of the parade, joining him in the two-and-a-half-mile march. And while the traditional cookout held in Mr. Barboza’s backyard may be put off for the holiday, there will still be festivities.
“Believe me, I’m going to have fun and make sure everyone else has fun as well,” he said.
Having watched the parade his entire life, Mr. Barboza said the one part of the parade that’s been especially significant is the beginning, at the corner of Hope and Chestnut streets.
“The thing I always wanted to do is cut the ribbon at the start of the parade. That is completely awesome. To me, it’s magical,” he said.