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Galligan named Viola Valley Homecoming grand marshal
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The 2019 Viola Valley Homecoming kicks off Friday, Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. and continues Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with a parade.

A grand marshal has been chosen for the upcoming Viola Valley Homecoming Parade focusing on the rich educational history of the Viola schools. 

Michael Galligan, an attorney in McMinnville since 1971, attended Viola Elementary School between 1946 and 1954. Since Galligan is a highly successful part of the Viola schools’ history, he was selected to lead the beloved parade. 

Galligan has a wide range of talents and accomplishments, including being a U.S. Marine Corps captain, Vietnam veteran, professor of law for 13 years at the UT Law School, member of the Board of Delegates for the Tennessee Bar Association and Tennessee Judicial Counsel, as well as being a published artist and poet. 

“I’m looking forward to being in the parade, and I hope I can have two of my grandchildren ride with me,” says Galligan. “I’m looking forward to seeing the people and having fun. You don’t see parades like the Viola Valley Homecoming parade anymore.”

Galligan has attended the parade almost every year and the event is a family affair. He is married to Rhonda Smith Galligan and has three children and five grandchildren. He is hoping two of his grandchildren, Burgess Galligan, age nine, and Tillie Galligan, age four, will be riding in the parade with him.

“I appreciate and am honored to be chosen as the grand marshal for the parade,” says Galligan. “Viola means the world to me. It’s centered on my earlier childhood until I went to high school. It’s a beautiful farming community with great people.”

Peggy McColloch, secretary of the Viola Valley Homecoming Commission, was a teacher at the elementary school beginning in 1963, and is hoping the school reunion and display of memorabilia will be a celebration of all of the schools which have been in Viola and the people who attended.

 “Galligan attended Viola School when he was a young boy, and we are having our school reunion this year so it perfectly fit into our plan to have him as the grand marshal,” says McColloch.