BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Bristolians.

The home of America’s oldest continuous Fourth of July Celebration is gearing up for its 237th parade, which will step off at the corner of Chestnut and Hope streets Monday morning.

The parade route passes right by former state Rep. Chuck Millard’s house, who tells 12 News he looks forward to it every year.

“It’s Bristol’s Christmas,” Millard said. “It brings out the proper spirit in an American and you don’t see that in a lot of places. It’s really nice and really comforting. I love it.”

Thousands of people flock to Bristol each year to celebrate America’s birthday, with people securing their spots along the parade route as early as 5 a.m.

The lifelong Bristolian, whose birthday is July 3, will turn 77 on Sunday.

“I always thought the parade was for me,” he said with a laugh, adding that he’s attended every one since 1968.

Courtesy: Erin Cromwell

Millard has been treating every day as a celebration ever since his daughter gave him a new lease on life nearly two years ago.

Cara Cromwell said when her father needed a life-saving kidney transplant in August 2020, it was a no-brainer.

“I had the opportunity to put some time back on his clock,” she said. “I didn’t think about it for a moment.”

Cromwell’s selfless act isn’t lost on her father.

“Her generosity says it all,” he said. “I’m walking around with my daughter’s 50-year-old kidney in me and I feel like a new man. I’ve got all kinds of energy.”

“Two years ago I was walking around like I was 75,” he continued. “Now, I’m walking around like I’m 55.”

Millard tells 12 News he always keeps Cromwell updated on how he’s doing, even though she lives right across the street.

“I call her up all the time and tell her, ‘your kidney’s doing well,'” he said with a laugh.

Millard acknowledged that he’s lucky to have found a donor so quickly, especially when he thinks of those who spend years waiting for a match.

“I feel guilty, but I feel blessed,” he said. “Every day is a gift.”

Millard said if his daughter hadn’t stepped up when she did, he likely would’ve been aged out of transplant eligibility.

“I think about how lucky I am to be here and it’s all because of her,” he continued. “There’s no doubt about it.”

Anyone who wants to become an organ donor can contact New England Donor Services by calling 1-800-446-6362 or emailing nedsonline@neds.org.