Winning brings joy, but sometimes it also brings work. Such is the case when a nonprofit organization, like the Los Banos Rotary Club, wins the community lottery to sell fireworks.
This year the Los Banos Rotary club was selected as one of several nonprofits authorized to sell fireworks in the city. Having its name drawn out of a hat was a win for the club, since fireworks sales will raise more money to fund the many projects Rotary does for the community.
But winning also means every Rotarian, including me, will have to put in many hours of work in a hot fireworks stand.
The Rotary fireworks stand this year will be in the Santos Ford car lot (617 Pacheco Blvd.). Like other stands in Los Banos, it will be from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily from June 28 to July 4. Each Rotarian will need to work a minimum of three three-hour shifts during this time.
When I heard a few months ago that our club had been selected in the fireworks drawing, my initial response was, “Hooray” – because each year there are more and more needs in the community for the club to meet.
But about 10 seconds later I had a second response: “Oh, man, I’ve got some work ahead.” Since I’ve been assigned fireworks sales hours in previous years, I knew I’d need to put in several shifts in an outdoor booth during one of the hottest weeks of the year.
I won’t be working any harder than other Rotarians or other local volunteers whose organizations were selected to sell fireworks. And several of my fellow Rotarians will be putting in many more hours than me, including incoming club president Gene Lieb, who is responsible for ensuring there’s a fireproof cargo container to store the fireworks and a 24-hour security watch to safeguard the inventory.
So I don’t expect much sympathy. But I do expect to sweat a lot, especially if I work shifts on or just before July 4, when most sales take place.
Before I sell one firework, I have to be trained (again) on the many different products we have. This year the Rotary club again will sell TNT fireworks.
I’ll need to familiarize myself with the wide array of TNT options, including popular items from the past like Delirium and Crazy Eyeballs as well as new items like Whoa Boy and Wild Side. I’ll also have to explain items with names coincidentally related to current events, like Justify and Rocketman.
It will all be worth it, because I believe in what Rotary stands for, beginning with its motto, “Service above Self.” And I understand the value of the community projects our club helps sponsor.
Just recently outgoing Los Banos Rotary Club president David Dees listed the many projects the club helped fund in the last 12 months, including Pacheco and Los Banos High School scholarships, the Christmas Angel Tree, Sober Graduation, the local food bank, Relay for Life, the local Boy Scout troop, literacy projects in the Los Banos library, the Merced Symphony performance in Los Banos, the Community Garden and a blood drive.
So I’m psyched up to work. Even a rickety senior citizen can put mind over matter (or, in this case, sales over heat) for a cause as good as Rotary and all it does for the community.
But work it will be, beginning with my orientation. I will need to know the prices and differences among
▪ Aerials – like Patriot Punch, Crunch Time and Cosmic Surge;
▪ Fountains – like Dancing Lights, Cascading Waterfall and Wild Turkey;
▪ Novelties – like Ground Bloom Flowers, Pop-Its and Morning Glory Sparklers;
▪ Assortments – like Big Bang, Big Deluxe and Big Timer.
I would encourage anyone interested in buying Rotary fireworks to use the $10 coupon that’s been pasted to recent editions of the Enterprise.
I’d also encourage folks to shop sooner rather than later. In the first few days of fireworks week, we can leisurely explain all the different products. Closer to and on July 4, we will be providing information at such a rapid rate to so many people, customers may need to ask us to slow down.
If you happen to come by during one of my shifts, you’ll recognize me as the old man with white hair wiping away sweat as he’s trying to explain the difference between “American Dog Fight” and “Tasmanian Cyclone.”
John Spevak is a resident of Los Banos; he wrote this for the Los Banos Enterprise. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.