Long-time parade supporter named Grand Marshal

Greg Hammack

Greg Hammack is being honored as Grand Marshal of the 2024 Bloomin’ Iris Parade on Saturday, May 18.

Hammack’s business, Valley Credit Service, Inc., located in Keizer, is one of the longest sponsors of the festival parade, dating back to 2011. Since then, the company has been the title sponsor of the parade each year. 

In 2011, the company sponsored the Keizer Iris Parade, held each May, with the Iris Festival; in 2021 the festival was rescheduled in August, and Valley Credit Service was the main sponsor of the Bloomin Iris Day Parade.

This year, the parade is being separated from festival weekend and dubbed the Bloomin’ Iris Day Parade. The parade was moved to attract high school marching bands and to coincide with the eruption of Mount St. Helens, thus the parade theme of Shake, Rattle & Roll.

Greg Hammack passed away in December, but the Keizer Chamber of Commerce wanted to honor Hammack’s many years of parade sponsorship by naming him Grand Marshal.

The Grand Marshal will be represented by his wife, Brenda Hammack, daughter Kayla Wood Hammack, an executive with the company, and her two sons, Liam and Logan. They will be joined by other company executives Alice Ray-Graham and Wendi Coates.

Valley Credit Service sponsored the parade, said, Brenda Hammack, “Because he loved the whole idea of the parade.

“He and I were both in Flamingo, so we marched in this parade when we were kids. And it’s just something that he felt was a big thing to do and he loved to be able to help the community.”

She continued, “His grandchildren were just coming on to the scene and it was a way to connect the young ones with the older ones and keep everyone together.”

It is that commitment and tradition that the Hammack family and Valley Credit Service employees will continue this year and into the future.

Cori Falardeau, executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, organizers of the parade, said that Hammack and Valley Credit Service were chosen as Grand Marshal due to their sponsorship of the parade in all its iterations over the past years.

“We wanted to honor him,” said Falardeau, citing the longevity of their sponsorship.

Alice Ray-Graham, general manager, said Greg Hammack being chosen Grand Marshal “is a wonderful honor.” 

His family and employees described Hammack as committed to his community. As for his years of sponsorship, they said he was a go-with-the-flow kind of guy, always flexible with changes for the parade.

“I feel pretty good that they came up with this,” said Ray-Graham. “It came out of left field for me, and I was so happy to see people thinking of him like that and remembering all the good things that he did.” 

Besides the annual Keizer festival parade, the Boys and Girls Club and the March of Dimes were close to his heart.

He was a national director for American Collectors Association, which is comprised of collection agencies.Valley Credit Service was founded in 1936 by Hammack’s father, Ralph and several partners. The businesss, and its 19 employees moved to its current Keizer address in 2011.

The Bloomin’ Iris Day Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, at Lockhaven Drive and continue south on River Road, ending at Glynbrook Street.

Representing Valley Credit Service and Greg Hammack in the parade will be, from left, Alice Ray-Graham, Kayla Wood-Hammack, Brenda Hammack and Wendi Coates.
Photo/Lyndon Zaitz of the Keizertimes

Contact Publisher Lyndon Zaitz:
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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