1. How long have you worked with the Star Spangled Spectacular?
I’ve worked with it for 20 years — ever since we started it.
2. You had sort of retired from this, but got called back into service. How did that happen and what will you be doing?
I didn’t plan on getting involved this year. I planned on having a quiet Fourth of July, but I got a call from the chairman this year, and he said, “You gotta help me out here.” He needed me to help with the radios and getting the Red Cross set up and so forth because the guy who was supposed to do it, the one who took my place, he didn’t have everything together for them. He left and went to Columbus for a new job. I’ll be dealing with the intricacies involved with the radios and also the setting up of the Red Cross.
3. How did you get involved originally?
It came together when Tom Mullen was the publisher at The Lima News and Jim Pages who was the manager of the TV station, WLIO, they got together and said there should be some kind of Fourth of July celebration for the city that’s free for the public, with fireworks and all sorts of things. They got the Lima Symphony involved in the beginning. They asked me to work on it and I said sure. We also got some other people at the TV station involved to do certain things. Mostly they were handling the fireworks aspect of it. Later on, we got five co-chairs from the five main sponsors, and we handled everything. We just split up the work.
4. Before this year, what kind of work did you do for the event?
My duties were I used to work with Tom Offenbacher for the procuring of the golf carts for the staff. That was early on and then he took that over. I also procured the use of the Red Cross headquarters, and then I was also working with the Lima Police and the Sheriff’s department for security. I took care of the radios, and I also procured the Encore Theater which worked as a staging area for the Lima Symphony. It also provided a place for the buses to turn around and parking for VIPs. It’s been a very pleasant, wonderful time. When I think of all the time that has passed and all the fireworks — I’ve never ceased to be amazed at the fireworks. It’s about a 35-minute firework display, and that’s about $1,000 a minute going up in the air.
5. How many people does it take to pull off the Star Spangled Spectacular?
If you count all the volunteers, including the church groups that come to clean up afterwards, I’d say several hundred people are involved. It’s truly a wonderful community event.
6. What has always been the biggest challenge?
Oh, the biggest challenge has always been making sure we have enough money. If there is a shortfall, the major sponsors have to step in and fill the gap. It was our job to find sponsors. Then putting it all together and making it work. No matter how much planning we did before, it all seemed to come together in the last three to four days.
7. What is your favorite part about helping with the Star Spangled Spectacular?
The actual day itself is fun. It’s marvelous to see it all come together.
8. Do you think you’ll continue to keep your hand in things in future years?
If they need me, I will. With 20 years invested in something, you don’t just walk away from it. I made a lot of good friends over the years.