Let's begin fundraising for next year

Friday, July 2, 2004

For the first time in many years, the Fourth of July weekend will pass in McCook without a fireworks display. The Elks, who previously headed up the aerial show, had to pass on sponsorship this year due to lack of money and manpower.

As a community, we can't let this happen again. Starting now, we need to begin raising money for a spectacular fireworks show in 2005. As a starting point, the McCook Daily Gazette announced today it would launch the drive with a $500 donation.

"We invite others to join us in support of a community fireworks display for 2005," said Gene Morris, the Gazette's publisher. "Fourth of July fireworks are a proud tradition in McCook. We need to work together to bring back the spectacular Independence Day shows."

Others who would like to help are asked to send their donations to: Fireworks Fund, P.O. Box 1268, McCook, NE 69001.

Based upon past year's shows, Elks Trustee Dan Stramel says a fireworks display will cost a minimum of $3,000 for fireworks, plus an additional outlay for liability insurance.

"Our hope," Morris said, "is that a public agency will allow the fireworks show to be covered under the umbrella of their liability coverage. Otherwise, it will be a major, additional expense for the organization that takes on the task of presenting the show."

A debt of gratitude is due to the Elks and to the Jaycees, who carried the responsibility for fireworks shows in McCook for many years. Now, another organization needs to step forward.

Wit luck, through the year-long Fireworks Fund drive, the community will be able to raise $5,000 or more for the 2005 show. That would relieve the organization in charge of the financial responsibility, allowing them to focus instead on ordering fireworks, getting volunteers certified to set them off, and lining up volunteers for parking and passing the hat.

Interested organizations are asked to contact either Stramel, at (308) 345-5213, or Morris at (308) 345-4500. "The sooner the better," they said. "We need to get started early to assure that the community has a show in 2005."

And, remember, as individuals and businesses, to send your Fireworks Fund donations. The address again is: Fireworks Fund, P.O. Box 1268, McCook, NE 69001. Gifts of any amount are welcome.

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