Police Chief Thomas O’Loughlin will be honored as the first official "Milfordian of the Year" at next month’s Fourth of July parade, less than a week after his final day on the job.
MILFORD – Police Chief Thomas O’Loughlin will be honored as the first official "Milfordian of the Year" at next month’s Fourth of July parade, less than a week after his final day on the job.
“I’m truly honored, I am,” O’Loughlin said. “I’m humbled and honored.”
The designation is an addition to the town’s parade. Event co-chairman Ray Auger said the parade had an unofficial Milfordian of the Year last July in local do-gooder Moe Hutchins, but the title is new.
“I think he’s just somebody who gives back to the community, and even though he was serving as the chief, as a citizen, I think he still was ingrained in the community,” Auger said of O'Loughlin. “You could tell his heart was here … It wasn’t just a job for him.”
Selectmen voted 2-1 not to renew O'Loughlin's contract last fall, and a town committee is looking for his replacement. His last day as chief is June 30. Former police Sgt. Michael Pighetti will serve as interim chief.
O’Loughlin was chosen through an unofficial Facebook poll. Sixty-nine people commented on a Facebook post from parade organizers asking for nominations, and hundreds voted by liking the name of their choice.
“By majority it was the chief,” Auger said, categorizing the victory as a landslide. “People just want to say goodbye properly.”
O’Loughlin was nominated several times. Other top contenders were Thanks for Yanks organizer Michael Shain, and Auger himself.
The police chief will lead the parade and receive a plaque. In future years, Auger said the group will likely a more official survey, and give Hutchins the title retroactively.
This is only the second time Milford’s Fourth of July parade will march down Main Street.
“It was great,” Auger said of 2018's event, estimating thousands either participated in the parade or watched. “I guess we had no expectations because it was the first one last year, and we were pleasantly surprised.”
The parade this year will up the number of stilt walkers and other performers, showcase new bands, and feature a "Back to the Future" replica car that raises money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
“We know this is going to be a tradition that goes on for a long time,” Auger said, “so we’re pacing ourselves.”
Applications for parade participants – as well as donors and sponsors – are available until June 21 on the town website. Entries are not limited to businesses or organizations, Auger said. He wants to see neighborhoods, and groups of friends pull together floats.
“Just put a group together and get in the back of a truck and decorate it,” Auger said.
The parade will step off at 10 a.m. July 4 at the corner of Rtes. 16 and 109, continue up Main Street, and end at Draper Memorial Park, across from the police station.
“I encourage people to come down,” Auger said. “It’s early enough where they can enjoy celebrating Milford, and celebrating the Fourth of July, and then they can go off and do their barbecues.”
The town’s fireworks will be held July 3 at Plains Park, with a rain date of July 5.
Alison Bosma can be reached at 508-634-7582 or email@example.com. Find her on Twitter at @AlisonBosma.