Five Minutes With: Tom Peeples, grand marshal of the 2012 St. Patrick's Day Parade on Hilton Head Island

jpaprocki@islandpacket.comMarch 9, 2012 

Tom Peeples no longer holds the reins of the Hilton Head Island Town Council. But he will take the lead in the St. Patrick's Day Parade this year.

The former mayor will serve as the grand marshal at the annual parade Sunday. Peeples ended his 15-year run as mayor in January 2011. The parade will mark one of the few times he's stepped back into the spotlight since leaving.

Peeples, who is part Irish and Scottish, discusses his new leadership role.

Question. What are you up to these days?

Answer. I've just thrown myself into running my business (Tom Peeples Builder). I was always very active, but I've been concentrating on just running that. With the economy slowdown, it takes all the effort you have.

Q. Do you miss being mayor?

A. I miss some things. But not a whole lot. I loved it while I did it. The good news for me was that I got very busy at work just about as soon as I left office. I didn't have time to get bored or anything like that. We do get out to California about three times a year to see my son and his family. We didn't have time to do that too often before. I told everyone when I left that I wasn't going to be the ex-mayor who hung around. I follow everything in the paper like everyone else.

Q. What did you think when you were asked to be grand marshal?

A. It's a great honor. The parade has always been something that I supported strongly. It's genuine. In my mind, it's a time when the town really comes together. From being in the parade before as a participant, I remember just looking at a sea of kids along that route. It reminds me of how family-oriented we actually are.

Q. Do you know what your responsibilities are as grand marshal?

A. You know what? I have no idea (laughs). As far as I know, the only duty I have is to basically be the lead car and just wave and be friendly.

Q. Have you been practicing your wave?

A. I've got a wave down over the years. It's not a royal wave by any means. But it gets the job done.

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