Nothing usually catches Lynn Williams off guard.
Until she received a recent phone call.
“Good morning, Mrs. Grand Marshal,” the caller said.
“Hello?” Williams answered.
The caller identified themselves.
A couple of awkward seconds followed.
“You didn’t know?” asked the caller.
More uncomfortable seconds.
Thinking the cat had been released too soon from its bag, the caller apologized. Yet, the press release sent via email said the embargo date passed at midnight.
One of the town’s most-recognized community volunteers, Williams has been selected as grand marshal for the 2021 Mount Olive Christmas Parade. The holiday fiesta is Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.
“I had no idea. I’m kind of speechless about that one,” Williams said. “And part of the reason why is there are so many people in Mount Olive who work to make Mount Olive a better place, and they do it in big ways and small ways.
“I’m very honored to have been selected, but there sure are a lot of other people who can be grand marshal. It’s kind of cool, though.”
Williams checked all the boxes on the grand marshal nomination form.
She gives back to the community, deserves credit for good deeds completed, inspires others and is a Mount Olive native. She is one of many longtime volunteers who has made this 151-year-old town a better place to live, work and play, according to her nomination.
“It is fitting that the committee chose Lynn for this recognition,” said Julie Beck, president of the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce. “Lynn goes above and beyond in whatever tasks she takes on. She is a dedicated citizen and makes a difference in Mount Olive.
“What a great way to honor her.”
Williams is currently the assistant corporate secretary and public relations manager at Mt. Olive Pickle Company. She increased her volunteer time once she and her husband, Michael, became empty nesters.
The Campbell University alumna has been recognized for her volunteer work as co-chair of the award-winning NC Pickle Festival and is one of several community volunteers to spearhead the inaugural Pickles, Pigs & Swigs festival. That’s not to mention earning the Ruff Huggins Lifetime Community Service Award and receiving a key to the town of Mount Olive.
“[Our] kids are grown up and are on their own now, and that’s helped so I’ve had a little more time,” she said. “I do enjoy working on projects that make Mount Olive a better place and to make it a better experience for people to visit.”
Expect Williams to slow down again.
She and Michael are newly-minted grandparents.
“I’ve realized really quick that when the grand baby shows up, everything else is off the table,” she said. “He gets all my attention.”
Just like her hometown has before him.