Grand Marshals

The Cowan Christmas Parade Committee is excited to announce our 2022 Celebrity Grand Marshal, Jimmy Wayne, and our 2022 Local Grand Marshal, Bishop Willie Lee Bonner, Jr.!

CELEBRITY GRAND MARSHAL

JIMMY WAYNE

Jimmy Wayne is a former foster kid turned award-winning country recording-artist whose songs and story highlight his mission to raise awareness for children in foster care. Jimmy’s hits include “Stay Gone,” “Paper Angels,” “I Love You This Much” and “Do You Believe Me Now,” which earned BMI’s prestigious Million-Air Award for receiving more than one million radio spins in America. In 2009, Jimmy toured with Brad Paisley and recorded “Sara Smile” with rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame duo Daryl Hall and John Oates.

In 2010, Jimmy walked halfway across America (from Nashville to Phoenix) to raise awareness for kids aging out of the foster care system. While walking, he wrote the Christmas novel Paper Angels (2011, Simon & Schuster). In 2012, Jimmy lobbied to pass legislative bills extending the age of foster care from 18 to 21 in California and Tennessee.

In 2013, Jimmy’s first film, Paper Angels (UPtv) became an instant holiday classic.   The “Paper Angels” movie is an incredible story of how the Salvation Army Angel Tree program helps two families find hope during the Christmas Season.

In 2014 he released Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way (2014, Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins) which became a three-time New York Times bestseller, crossing the 170,000 sales milestone in early 2019, and became a #1 Bestseller at Amazon. 

Jimmy has performed at the Grand Ole Opry 224 times.  He lives in Nashville and continues to work tirelessly on behalf of at-risk foster youth by performing, writing books, keynote speaking and through Project MMH.org.

Jimmy Wayne is no stranger to Franklin County and has performed at several events for non-profit agencies over the last several years, raising funds and bringing awareness for those in need.   

Jimmywayne.com

LOCAL GRAND MARSHAL

BISHOP WILLIE LEE BONNER, JR.

Bishop Willie Lee Bonner, Jr. is a native of Cowan, Tennessee and the son of the late Willie Lee Bonner, Sr. and Lillie Ruth Bonner. He is a graduate of Townsend High School, Winchester, TN. During his ministerial career, he has received additional training from Liberty Bible College and Seminary, Moody Bible College and the University of the South, Sewanee, TN. He is a retiree from the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Bishop Bonner accepted his call to the ministry in 1973 and was ordained as an Elder to the Church of God in Christ, Inc. in 1977 by the late Bishop Audley King.

“Watchman on the Wall for Christ”, in 1981, Bishop Bonner founded and continues to Pastor the New Hope COGIC ministry located in Cowan, TN. A Gospel Preacher and multi-talented champion for the cause of Christ, Bishop Bonner has facilitated the saving, healing and deliverance of many souls. To his credit, his accomplishments include the following: 45 years Ordained Pastor Elder; 40 years Pastoral Leadership; 36 years District Superintendent; 30 years Bonner’s Recycling and Trucking Company, owner and operator; 21 years Financial Treasurer; 12 years Church of God in Christ National Resolution Committee; 5 years Associate Pastor; 2 years Administrative Assistant to the Jurisdictional Bishop; Acquisition of numerous properties and facilities; and Outreach and Benevolent Mission Projects.

As one of God’s soldiers, a chosen vessel, Bishop Bonner is determined to be ever faithful and always in prayer for the multitude.

In his capacity as the Bishop of Tennessee Eastern Second Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Pastor of New Hope COGIC, the ministry focus is the teaching and preaching of the gospel, while educating men, women, and our youth that God’s desire is that they live and maintain a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle by following the direction found in God’s Word. Through his tireless efforts, souls are being saved and revived, hearts are inspired, and minds are being spiritually enlightened. A “Man of God” and a true believer, Bishop Bonner allows God to be the cornerstone in his life as he leads God’s people spiritually through His word.

Bishop Willie Lee Bonner, Jr. is married to Mrs. Verna M. Bonner and in this union, they were blessed with three children: Elder Leo (Trina) Bonner, Tina D. Bonner, and Ivan (Diane) Bonner; three grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Cowan New Hope Church of God in Christ https://www.newhopecogiccowan82.com/