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Bringing back the Fourth: Young Professionals close to goal

Published 8:00am Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The effort to bring fireworks back to Dowagiac for the Fourth of July is entering the home stretch.

The Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac have raised over $4,500 for their campaign to host a fireworks display at the city’s municipal airport on the evening of July 3. The group started advertising for the event on their Facebook page earlier this month, encouraging families to come out to Russom Park around 8:30 p.m. that night for the show, which is expected to last for half an hour.

“We are all on board for the show, and we already have the fireworks on order,” said Jeremy Truitt, one of the organizers for the show. “The major thing holding us up is that we need to get the event approved by city council.”

Truitt said the organization expects to receive authorization for the council in the coming weeks, once they have finished submitting necessary insurance information to the city.

This Thursday, the group will meet with Dowagiac Director of Public Safety Steven Grinnewald to go over potential parking arrangements for the evening. The Young Professionals group  will have a number of volunteers on hand that evening to help out, Truitt said.

Firing off the explosives that evening will be Kirk Proshwitz, a former resident of Dowagiac who has more than a decade’s worth of experience operating fireworks. Though Proshwitz frequently does firework shows across the region, including one at last year’s Dowagiac homecoming celebration, he has been unable to get a Fourth of July show off the ground in his hometown until this year, he said.

“I had turned in a couple of proposals to the City of Dowagiac, but there was nobody in place to organize it, no one to get the ball rolling,” Proshwitz said. “I had the equipment and the know-how, but I didn’t have the time to go to businesses and gather donations to pay for the fireworks.”

In March, the Niles-resident said he was approached by Truitt, who offered to help him raise the estimated $5,000 necessary to cover the cost of the 1,300 shells he planned to fire off during the show.

“The Young Professionals have taken the initiative to get out there and collect [donations],” Proshwitz said. “They are doing some great things for the community. I’m glad they’re doing something I can be a part of.”

So far, 25 businesses and five individual donors have contributed money for the show, Truitt said.

“I’m overwhelmed by the support we’ve received,” Truitt said. “Everyone has been extremely positive about it. It’s been gratifying.”

For members of the group, one of the main things they’re looking forward to is the opportunity to give back, to give the city’s youth a chance to experience the same spectacle they did as children.

“Creating memories for the younger generation is a good thing to do,” Proshwitz said.” “I hope we can continue doing it for years to come.”

People or businesses interested in donating are encouraged to contact Truitt at 269-782-1021 or by visiting Fifth Third Bank, located at 205 S. Front St.

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