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Local Jaycees thankful for support

I let out a sigh of relief on Wednesday night about 10:35 p.m. as the Independence Day celebration came to an end in Connersville. I felt good seeing the smiling faces of kids in the crowd and the ooh’s and ahh’s from spectators as the fireworks were lit off by the Kaiser family. It felt good to see so many in the community come out and support our Independence Day celebration.

It was a long, tiresome afternoon with events nearly all day. The blistering sun may have kept some people away but those who came early had the opportunity to enjoy good local food, activities for kids, and live music from the likes of Closer to Clarity, David Case, Tom Ripberger and Garrie D. Woolery. I can’t thank the vendors enough for their participation in the event. They help make it all possible. Bobby Devaughn and his family are our biggest cheerleaders. They are great. Garrie D. Woolery and Back Stage pass really put on a rocking show (especially after we figured out the lights). I can’t thank Sgt. Bonilla and the Indiana National Guard for helping run kids activities during the evening. It all came together and meshed so well.

Thanks to the 25-plus sponsors we had at the FCN Bank/Jaycees Grand Prix; all of the sponsors of our bowling event this past February; all the folks who gave during our drive at Shell and Herdrich Petroleum for letting us do it. There are so many people who are responsible for helping put on the annual Independence Day celebration and we couldn’t do any of it without them.

None of this would have been possible without the help of the community stepping up and donating funds and/or time when we needed them. Without Andy Keller I don’t know what we would do when our go-karts break. It is people like that who make living here better than anywhere else in the world.

We are the kind of community when people are asked to help, they do, any and every way they can. I felt like a broken record all year when I told everyone that there would not have been a fireworks show in 2017 without FCN Bank. That is 100 percent true. They stepped up again this year to help make this show possible. I don’t know what we would do without Carol Hunter, Tom Horninger and Beth Siebert. Everyone should thank them if you run into them!

I especially want to thank all my fellow Jaycees for all the hard work. Each and every one of them make being a Jaycee that much better. We might be an eclectic rag-tag group of men and women but when we decide to do something, it gets done, just not maybe in the estimated amount of time we anticipate. I don’t know what any of us would do with Kevin Kaiser and Rob Wilson. Anyone with a chance should thank them for all that they do.

The sigh of relief is short, however. As soon as the last firework goes off and the traffic clears, the ideas for next year begin to formulate. Our hope is to provide free, family-friendly activities that keep people coming back year after year. While we know our show isn’t the biggest or most expensive, we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to celebrate America’s birthday free of charge.

I want to thank everyone in the community who came and watched our fireworks, wherever you may have watched them from. Here’s to celebrating America’s birthday. We hope to see you again next year.

– Brian Durham, president, Connersville Jaycees