Sheila Gearwar to be Grand Marshal in July 4th parade


BRANDON—Anyone who’s been in the Brandon area for any length of time has at some point crossed paths with Sheila Gearwar at the beloved Brandon House of Pizza (BHOP) on Center Street, which she has owned and/or managed since 2011. In addition to her famous pizza (and other delectables), Sheila is known in town for her remarkable generosity, donating time, money, space, or food to one cause after another. And for all that she’s done for her community, she’s been chosen as Grand Marshal in this year’s Independence Day Parade on Saturday, July 6.

“It’s a big honor,” said Gearwar in a recent conversation at BHOP. “I had no idea it was coming. A group of ladies from the parade committee came in one day and asked if I’d do it.” 

SHEILA GEARWAR (CENTER) beams with pride between her son Jacob (right) and Jacob’s husband Tyler (left) at the Brandon House of Pizza.

In a written response to The Reporter, Susan Stone of the Parade Committee explained their selection of Sheila as this year’s Marshal: “Sheila epitomizes why we all chose to live in small-town Vermont. Yes, she provides us with amazing comfort food. But more importantly, she has created a comfortable space for our kids and grandkids to work or to just hang out, and for the rest of us to greet our neighbors and swap stories. It takes a very special person to create that kind of environment. Sheila is a very special person.”

Usually hesitant to draw attention to herself, Gearwar agreed in part because her son Jacob and his husband, Tyler, will join her.

“They’ve been along for the ride,” said Gearwar. “It feels right to have them with me.” Both Jacob and Tyler have worked with Sheila at BHOP for years.

Though the parade passes right in front of BHOP, Sheila wasn’t even fully aware that there was a “Grand Marshal.” 

“I thought it was just another car in the parade,” she laughed.

In recent years, the role of Grand Marshal has been filled by Louis and Sarah Pattis (2023) and Warren Kimble (2022). 

Sheila still manages BHOP but transferred ownership of the business at the beginning of the year.

“I love working with the new owners,” said Sheila. “But the boys and I are still here, and our customers are still happy to see us when they come in.”

Despite the change in ownership, Sheila felt too connected to BHOP and to her customers to walk away entirely. Managing the restaurant with her boys keeps her feeling connected to her community. But the role of Grand Marshal is also an opportunity for connection.

“I’m really excited about it,” she said. “I don’t go out much and don’t see a lot of people unless they come into the restaurant. It’ll be good to see people outside of work.”

And it will be good for people to see Sheila celebrated for everything she’s done for her neighbors. Be sure to get a good spot along the parade route on the 6th and give Sheila, Jacob, and Tyler a big cheer when they ride by. 

Thanks for everything you do, Sheila.

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