While most recent parades in downtown Reno have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, a different kind of procession drove through the city’s core yesterday. More than 100 cars—most decorated with flags, signs and balloons—converged in a cruise to honor officers from the Reno Police Department.
Somersett resident Lee Graham hatched the idea, and many of the neighborhood’s residents rallied behind her, inviting more friends, families and neighbors to join the parade. The group’s initial estimate was that 20 vehicles would participate, but the number grew to 75. By Wednesday afternoon more than 100 vehicles converged the Gold & Silver Inn on West Fourth Street, where owner Jeff Paine allowed the group to stage the caravan.
Drivers set off at 2 p.m. passing about 50 police officers stationed along the route, blocking streets to allow drivers to proceed through intersections. Some business owners, employees and bystanders gave the group thumbs up as they drove past.
“Reno PD was waiting for us in front of their station. It was very emotional as we passed by them—honking, flag waving and yelling our thanks out our windows,” said participant Bev Stenehjem. “Most people in our community want peace and prosperity. Most people want law and order and appreciate the police. Most of us are horrified at the violence taking place in our major cities while the mayors stand by and do nothing.”
Stenehjem said that some of the parade’s participants feel like part of a silent majority because their viewpoints are neglected by news media, who she said often focus instead on small groups of people.
“It was a great celebration of people of all ages, colors and political backgrounds, coming together to say ‘thank you’ to our police,” she said. “And we proved to the world that it is ok to stand up and have another view point. That we must not be afraid to voice our opinion, too, as much as some people were afraid that we would be attacked by protestors.”
In addition to celebrating the work of local police officers, the group raised nearly $2,000 for the RPD’s Hashimoto Widows’ and Orphans’ Fund and K-9 Fund and provided a cake and other treats for officers at the station.
Editor’s Note: Bev Stenehjem is a contributor to This Is Reno.