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First-grade teacher, Judith Otero-Reed casts her confidence.

Teachers may travel or take it easy during summer, especially after an active school year.  For Oak Point Elementary teacher, Judith Otero-Reed, on Fourth of July, taking it easy took a back seat to stirring up passion for the community.  A 1st grade teacher, Otero-Reed showed up at Denton’s Yankee Doodle Parade wearing, of all things, a leg cast.  The cast, from a car injury seven weeks earlier, did not stop Otero-Reed, who shuffled to make it to her curbside seat.  When questioned about her tenacity, Otero-Reed stated the annual Independence Day event is her chance, “to celebrate a sense of freedom and liberty.” She warned against letting anything, “stop you from getting out and enjoying life itself.”

If the parade was a hit to onlookers, Otero-Reed was a hit to the crowd.  A Denton resident and attendee to the Fourth of July event for over 10 years, she was no first-time visitor.  She was, however, for the first time, watching her husband, William Reed, march in the parade while she cheered from the sidelines.

Otero-Reed cheered fervently to many passing floats, especially those with patriotic themes.  She yelled loudest for the float holding her husband, William Reed.  Reed rode with other members of the Marine Corps League, a support organization for Vietnam veterans.  He stated his participation in the parade made him think of the sacrifices that many men and women have made.  Besides her husband, many other members of the parade—especially children—seemed to know Otero-Reed, and waved accordingly at her from perches on their floats.  One child even asked about her leg.  At one point, the crowd bubbled with laughter as Otero-Reed vigorously screamed with flailing arms, for one of the girls—whom she knew, and called by name, to bring her bubble gum from the handfuls of candy she was throwing.