JAMESTOWN – This weekend’s holiday parade in Jamestown will not only ring in Christmas spirit, but honor two of “Jamestown’s finest,” police officers credited with saving lives.
The parade, organized by Collaborative Children’s Solutions, kicks off Saturday at 6 p.m. in Downtown Jamestown with co-grandmarshal role halls leading the way: Officer Mark Conklin and Jakki Martin-Ahlbin.
As organizer Patrick Smeraldo explains, the two officers are honored for their life saving actions this year.
“Realistically I always say Collaborative Children’s Solutions is about offering opportunities to kids, the opportunities that those two officers have offered to children to be able to grow, and experience life, and celebrate this holiday, and celebrate December 3rd and 4th, there isn’t a price tag on that,” explained Smeraldo.
In July, Conklin helped save the Rivera family after they woke up in the middle of the night to their William Street home completely engulfed in flames.
“I’m just grateful that I was where I was when I was,” said Conklin. “I think every officer that works with us would feel the same way, that we just like helping people, and being there for somebody in need.”
The humble nature of Officer Conklin seems to be a common attribute of many he serves alongside, including his co-grandmarshal Officer Martin-Ahlbin.
“I hear unresponsive, so I didn’t know what I was walking into,” explained Officer Martin-Ahlbin, who recalled her life saving actions that revived a baby back in September. The Department says her quick response and CRP likey saved the newborn.
“I just was praying for that baby so hard, I just wanted (him) to make it,” continued Martin-Ahlbin. “I still pray for him.”
The parade’s focus on children, and the everyday heroes that walk the streets of Jamestown, is something Smoreldo is doubling down on.
“I could do projects until I was 105-years-old and I can’t offer anything that would fit into a thimble compared to what those two officers have offered those families and kids,” Smeraldo continued.
For the officers, seeing the kids come together is the best reward for their actions.
“I guess just seeing the kids’ faces and their excitement for being at the parade,” said Conklin. “I remember when I was younger and just being really excited to be out there, and enjoy the festivities.”
In addition to the grand marshal role, both Conklin and Martin-Ahlbin will be featured during the annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony that follows the parade.