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FACES AND PLACES: Sertomans Kay Derry and Paul Waind organize Greater Grand Forks' Fourth of July festivities

The Fourth of July came early again this year for Sertomans Kay Derry and Paul Waind. "It begins on the third," said Derry, who co-chairs the Sertoma Club event with Waind. That's the day she and Waind begin setting up. If you count event plannin...

The Fourth of July came early again this year for Sertomans Kay Derry and Paul Waind.

"It begins on the third," said Derry, who co-chairs the Sertoma Club event with Waind. That's the day she and Waind begin setting up. If you count event planning and meetings, preparation for the Independence Day celebration began last October, Waind noted.

This is the 18th year the Sertoma Club of Greater Grand Forks has held a Fourth of July celebration and the 50th anniversary of its fireworks show. The Sertoma Club expanded its annual fireworks show in 1992 when it began holding a duck race on the Fourth, said Waind, who joined Sertoma the same year.

"That's really the vehicle that grew the festival," he said. "We're the only Sertoma Club in North Dakota that does the Fourth of July." The Sertoma Club got started with the July 4th celebration when it decided to do the duck race as a fundraiser for its service projects. Proceeds from past July 4th celebrations have been donated to a variety of projects, including Altru Cancer Center and the Ali's Boundless Playground project.

While the duck race is no longer held in conjunction with the Fourth festivities, other events, including musical entertainment, a run-walk and children's events such as a patriotic kids' parade, pedal tractor pull and juggling have been added over the years. There also are food booths and a silent auction and this year the Sertoma Club also is selling raffle tickets for a chance to win three vacations, including an all-expense paid trip for two to Hawaii.

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Giving back

Waind and Derry say they joined the service club at the invitation of friends and have remained members because they enjoy being part of a vital organization that gives back to the community.

Derry, a 20-year volunteer firefighter and first responder in Thompson, N.D., says she learned the importance of community service from her father George Hoselton.

"I grew up that way. My dad was always helping the community. He taught us to give back." Hoselton was also a member of Thompson's volunteer fire department and active in his church, Derry said.

Waind, a local restaurant owner, who also is a Shriner, said supporting community organizations is important because the community does the same thing for his business.

"The community supports me and I want to give it back where I can."

Besides providing community support, Derry also enjoys the camaraderie among Sertoma members.

"It's turned out to be a big family,"

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Unlike some service clubs, membership in Midwestern Sertoma clubs is growing and it is attracting young people, Waind noted. The Sertoma Club of Greater Grand Forks, which meets on Tuesdays, has about 75 members.

Festival

Sertoma Club events, such as the Fourth of July festival and fireworks display, also are geared at young people. For example, the club sponsors a wrestling meet and an essay contest during the winter and a youth track meet in the spring.

"The neat thing about the Fourth of July festival we do is that it attracts young people from throughout the region," Waind said. "It's been estimated we get 30,000 watching the fireworks and 20,000 during the day coming to the festival," he said.

Waind and Derry will begin setting up for the festival on Friday afternoon when they will meet with vendors and put up posters, which includes the schedule of events. On Saturday they'll begin their day at about 8 a.m. and finish about 1 a.m. Sunday after they help with clean-up.

"It's a lot of work, but at the end of the day, seeing the families with young kids bouncing around at the fireworks, it's really worth it," Derry said.

Bailey writes for special features sections. Reach her at (701) 787-6753; (800) 477-6572, ext. 753; or send e-mail to abailey@gfherald.com .

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