After years of hard work supporting the St. John Festival Committee, retired National Park Service law enforcement ranger Shuler Brown got to sit back and enjoy the festivities from a different view — the front of the parade.
Brown was honored for his tireless dedication to St. John Festival by being named the 2009 parade marshal. A Nevis native who resides on St. Thomas, Brown has been a member of the St. John Festival Committee for more than a decade.
“He has helped coordinate the parade every year,” said Festival Committee Chairperson Leona Smith. “Now he’s a member of the subcommittee for coordinating the parade.”
Brown most often helps with shutting down Cruz Bay roads and directing traffic during the parade, Smith continued.
“He’s been a tremendous help with the traffic,” she said. “He’s very instrumental in that.”
Brown retired from the NPS, where he worked mainly on St. John as Senior Protection Specialist, in December after a 27 year career. He started out as a maintenance worker on St. John in 1982, eventually transferring to the V.I. National Park’s Enforcement Division, where he worked his way up the ranks, serving as park ranger, supervisory park ranger and chief park ranger. Brown also served in the V.I. National Guard for 15 years.
He earned a diploma in wildlife and forestry from the North American School of Conservation in Scranton, Pennsylvania and an associate’s degree in political science, a bachelor of arts degree in social sciences and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of the Virgin Islands.
Brown has been married for 30 years to Gwendolyn Brown, and the couple has five children.
Although he has lived on St. Thomas for the majority of his life, Brown felt it was important to contribute to Festival on the island he commuted to daily.
“I want to help keep the culture alive, you know,” said Brown. “The festivities on the whole are a good thing to have for the island. You work all year round so you need to relax once a year, and it’s good for the economy.”
“I don’t want to see it die out,” Brown added.
The Festival Committee selects someone who shows enthusiasm for Festival, and who gives back to the community, to lead the Fourth of July parade. Brown fit the bill perfectly, Smith explained.
“He’s a very dedicated and committed individual,” she said. “He’s been very dedicated to the Festival Committee and to helping with the parade.”
After his years of hard work, Brown was excited to relax and enjoy the parade.
“I worked with the parade over the years, and now it’s time for me to relax and lead it,” said Brown. “I’m going to sit back and enjoy it.”