ENGLEWOOD — Brad and Lourdes Fuller believe Englewood needs to light the sky on July 4.
The Fullers donated $10,000 to help make it happen. Last year, the couple donated $5,000.
“It’s an opportunity to make our community a fun place to live,” Brad said. “It lets us have 30 minutes of something in common (as a community).”
Brad is the CEO and Lourdes the president of Lightspeed Voice, an internet cloud-based telephone company. More about their company can be found on www.lightspeedvoice.com or its Facebook page. Both Brad and Lourdes chose to live and raise their their two children — 9-year-old Mia and 6-year-old Marco — in Englewood.
“We love the water and it’s a small community with everyone knowing one another,” said Lourdes, who is originally from Panama. Brad grew up in Venice and is a Venice High School graduate.
The couple has become involved in various Englewood community organizations, such as supporting the Lemon Bay High School robotics team, and several chamber activities. Lourdes takes time out monthly to read to stories to children in Spanish at the Elsie Quirk Library.
“Life is about relationships,” Brad said. “A strong community comes from within.”
Lourdes sees the fireworks show as helping to re-enforce the bonds of the Englewood community.
The Fullers donation will make a big dent in the $40,000 the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary Club needs to raise to celebrate July 4 in Englewood with its annual Light Up Lemon Bay fireworks show.
For a decade, the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary has kept Englewood’s July 4th alive, staging the shows at sunset from the public Blind Pass Beach Park on Manasota Key. The Rotary members picked up the fireworks show after fundraising efforts failed in 2009 and the July 4 sky went dark over Englewood.
“It’s a grassroots effort, it’s all Englewood,” said Keith Rowley who spearheads the fundraising effort with fellow clubmember Mike Looney.
Funds for fireworksLike years past, the success of the fireworks show depends upon the Englewood community.
• A celebrity bartender fundraiser is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. June 27 at Howards Restaurant, 70 N. Indiana Ave.
• Organizers are also raffling off a “Spirits of America” red wagon filled with various whiskies, vodka and other alcohol beverages. Tickets are $5 or $20 for five tickets, and the wagon is at Hinck Private Wealth Management-Wells Fargo Advisors, 1177 S. McCall Road.
• The Rotary also has reservations available for its July 4 VIP party under an air-conditioned tent at Blind Pass and private viewing area. The event includes an open bar, barbecue by Matt Abraham’s Blacken Blues BBQ and Rob Stern’s private recipe, Lock ‘N Key side dishes and more. VIP packages vary — depending upon donations from $1,000 to $10,000. A single patron ticket to the party is available for a $250.
• Fireworks donation rockets and canisters are located in more than 30 convenience stores and other businesses in the Englewood area. The rocket donations may be small, but they add up, making up 10 to 15 percent of the donations for the fireworks show.
More information can be found at www.englewoodfireworks.com or on the Lemon Bay Rotary’s Facebook page. Call Looney at 941-468-9419 or Rowley 941-809-1106.
All donations are tax exempt and can be made online. Checks payable to the LBSR Community Trust with “for fireworks” written on the memo line can be mailed to Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary, PO Box 897, Englewood FL 34295.