Small, individual donations have helped the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 966 raise about $11,000 for this year's Fourth of July fireworks show, but it's less than half of the $25,000 needed to cover the cost of launching the display.
"We are thrilled to death by all the donations from individual people," said VFW Post Commander Rick Bremer who, with Quartermaster Wade Hatfield and other members, has spent many weekends soliciting donations from shoppers at Brookings' Fred Meyer.
"Children are dropping in nickels, quarters, whatever they have," Bremer said.
Local businesses and past major contributors, however, have not been as generous.
"We've received a few donations from local businesses, but not nearly as much as previous years," Bremer said.
This is the third year the VFW has organized the popular, annual fireworks display at the Port of Brookings Harbor. Each year, the organization has struggled but ultimately met its $25,000 goal."This is a small community and this is our celebration," Bremer said. "We keep doing it because of how much people love it. When the fireworks go off you should see the looks on the kids' faces and the applause from the crowd. It means a lot to everyone."
The VFW has signed a contract with Entertainment Fireworks Inc., of Olympia, Wash., to orchestrate this year's show, which promises to be even better than last year's, with bigger aerial explosions going off for about 45 minutes, Bremer said. Most of the $25,000 will be used to purchase fireworks and insurance, pay the pyrotechnicians and provide them with food and lodging.
The VFW had about $1,500 left over from last year, plus another $9,500 raised by soliciting donations at Fred Meyer in the last few months, Bremer said.
Earlier this year, the VFW sent nearly 800 letters to local businesses seeking donations.
"We had a very low response," Bremer said. "We're hoping that they are not waiting until the last minute before donating. We have to order the fireworks and pay for them now."
No matter what, the show will go on, Bremer said.
"It will happen. If we don't reach our goal, we will dip into our own pocket to coverit," Bremer said. "But if that happens, we probably won't do the fireworks again next year. It will be up to someone else to do it."
VFW members will continue to solicit donations at Fred Meyer every weekend now through the Fourth of July, he said.
Donations can be mailed to the VFW at P.O. Box 2475, Brookings, OR, 97415. They can be dropped off at the VFW Hall, on the corner of Pacific Avenue and Pioneer Road, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
For more information call the VFW Hall at 541-412-7214.