By Emily Rasmussen

The all-volunteer based Fiesta Association, which organizes the Swallows Day Parade and similar events, lost one of its board members on Tuesday, April 10.

James Valgean—who was the Parade and Mercado chair at this year’s event and volunteer at many more—died of cancer, his wife, Deborah Spellum, announced to Fiesta Association members on Wednesday, April 11. One day after her husband’s death, Spellum shared to the Fiesta Association members her husband’s final hours and expressed gratitude to her friends in the organization who helped her through the difficult time. She also noted Valgean’s perseverance and dedication to continue through the 2018 Swallows Day Parade.

“Over this past year, it has been my great honor to be the Chair for the Parade and the Mercado,” Valgean wrote in the 2018 Swallows Day Parade guide. “It has been an even bigger honor to work with our Parade and Mercado committees. Never have I worked with more conscientious and caring individuals.”

Amidst tears and subtle smiles, the Fiesta Association gave a toast of Jameson whiskey in honor of Valgean at its April 11 meeting.

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