By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN — Hosting Fairborn’s Fourth of July celebrations takes a crew of volunteers, who begin the putting the event together long before the summer months seem realistic.
According to Fourth of July Committee Member Paul Newman Sr., the army of volunteers who bring Fairborn’s Fourth of July events to life are 30 individuals who are behind-the-scenes planning the festivities as early as January each year, and the individuals who choose to dedicate their time and service as the events are taking place.
He said their reward is seeing the happiness the event brings to the community members. Fourth of July Committee Co-Chair Linda Hall describes it as a labor of love.
“We get paid a big check for this,” Hall said while laughing. “Smiles is what I love to see … It takes a lot of volunteers, and we have a great group of volunteers. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Several familiar Fairborn faces have a hand in helping: City Manager Secretary Penny Davis is responsible for sending Fourth of July Committee meeting minutes to members and receiving event participation applications; Jeff Schmitt in Fairborn, who provides some cars for the parade and some space for parade organization as well as coffee and donuts for the early morning before the parade beings; Leona Henrich, who serves as the committee’s treasurer; as well as individuals within city departments, Fairborn safety agencies and clubs who offer their cars and time during the parade, among others, according to event organizers.
“There’s so many people to thank, I could go on here for a week and still not mention everybody,” Hall said.
“We put a lot of work into it, but we love doing it,” Fourth of July Committee Co-Chair Jamie Brauer added. “We all love our job, or else we wouldn’t volunteer to do it. We love seeing everyone come out and have a good time. We want everyone to come out, enjoy their families and enjoy their friends.”
The Fourth of July Committee is not a city-organized group, although some of the committee’s members are city employees. The block party, parade and fireworks wouldn’t be possible without sponsors. The biggest this year include the Fairborn Rotary Club, Ali Industries, Greene Memorial Health and Soin Medical Center hospitals, Teleperformance and Foy’s Stores.
“Years ago, before they (the Fairborn Rotary) was our top contributor, we used to have to raise the money ourselves,” Hall said. “We used to work, when Burger King was [in the community], we had to work the restaurants to raise money. We had to do an awful lot to raise the money to have the parade, because that was the only way we could have the parade. Then the Fairborn Rotary stepped up and gave us thousands to help us.”