Long-time Hilton Head resident Betsy Doughtie, executive director of the non-profit Deep Well Project, on Tuesday was named grand marshal for the 33rd annual Hilton Head Island St. Patrick's Day Parade.
The honor was announced during the traditional Grand Marshal Sash Presentation Ceremony, at Reilley's Grill & Bar in Sea Pines.
“This is just an incredible community where we live, and I have been a part of it for 45 years I think,” Doughtie said following the ceremony. “I'm just honored to be recognized as the grand marshal.”
The 10-member parade committee chose Doughtie, an island resident since 1970, for the way she has “selflessly contributed” to the community through the decades. That includes serving on the board of the St. Mary's Human Development Center, which provided support for unwed teenage mothers, and helping launch “An Evening of the Arts” to raise funds for the Island School Council for the Arts.
“Hilton Head is just such a community-involved place, where people care about each other. ... They're real doers and achievers on Hilton Head,” said Doughtie, who's served in her current role with Deep Well for 19 years.
The parade Doughtie leads next month will feature more bands than ever, including from Battery Creek and Ridgeland-Hardeeville high schools, parade committee chairwoman Gabrielle Van De Velde said.
The US Coast Guard Sector Charleston Marching Unit as well as pipe and drum bands from Myrtle Beach and Raleigh will be present.
While Doughtie won't be charged with playing an instrument, she's already mentally preparing for a stage which saw more than 35,000 spectators last year, Van De Velde said.
“I'll practice my wave, and my smile,” Doughtie said. “I'll get that down by the time of the parade.”