Red, White and Boom fundraiser at Ruffino
M.J. Hill (left) and Jim Bowman, chief operating officer and president of Above and Beyond Delivery, told Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Terri Kimble (right) that they were happy to donate to the Chamber's fireworks project Wednesday at Ruffino Italian Cuisine. Brian Johnson/AFN

An Ahwatukee Foothills businessman has issued residents a challenge: Raise $10,000 for the annual Red, White and Boom! Independence Day celebration, and he’ll cover the final $5,000 the Chamber of Commerce needs for the event.

The chamber is still about $15,000 short of the $35,000 needed for the July 3 fireworks display and event with just over a week to go. Still, chamber president Terri Kimble is confident the community will come through.

"Ahwatukee always amazes me, because they always seem to rally and get the job done. I really mean that," Kimble said.

The donation challenge comes from Darin Fisher, CEO and owner of Vision Community Management, which manages homeowners associations around the Valley. Fisher lives and runs his business in Ahwatukee, and first got involved in the fireworks celebration last year.

He and his company have already donated $5,000 to the cause. He’s soliciting other donations, too, but none of that has stopped him from issuing this challenge.

"If we can get $10,000 from everyone else, I’ll commit to the last five," Fisher said. "Whether I have to personally write a check or whatever, we will have fireworks in Ahwatukee this year."

Fisher grew up in a small town and remembers how important the Fourth of July was, prompting the whole town to shut down, gather along the streets, listen to bands and watch fireworks.

"There is something absolutely magical when you see 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-year-old kids who have never seen fireworks before," Fisher said. "Just the look on their faces."

And while $35,000 is a lot for a personal budget, donations of any size from all the businesses and residents around Ahwatukee Foothills will help.

"They need to pony up and give back a little bit to the community as well. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the Fourth of July. It’s who we are," Fisher said. "Five dollars spends as well as anything. Just anything they can donate. We prefer the kind of money that folds, but we’ll take the kind that jingles as well."

Several fundraisers have already gone into helping the celebration. Last weekend’s Red, White and Beautiful spa event brought in $1,500, and various businesses have donated portions of profits from different nights, Kimble said. The Rock Bottom Brewery has one of those fundraisers coming up Saturday.

They’ve also been grateful for in-kind donations – the YMCA has offered to provide tables and chairs, for instance, and another group is lending walkie talkies, Kimble said.

There are also volunteers going door-to-door selling Red, White and Boom! decals for $25 each.

"If we had 400 people and or businesses donate $50, that’s $20,000," she said. "Then we could concentrate more on the event than all these little things."

Event planning is coming along, though. This year’s Red, White and Boom! will have an old-fashioned flair, featuring a local band and games like hula hoops for kids to enjoy, Kimble said.

"We have some bean bag toss games and all those old-fashioned games you remember when you were a kid," Kimble said. "People can sit back on their blankets, relax, have fun with the games and enjoy the music."

The chamber is also looking for volunteers to help staff the event. They need everyone from high school students looking for service hours to servers over 21 and liquor-certified. For information, visit www.ahwatukeechamber.com, call (480) 753-7676 or e-mail christine@ahwatukeechamber.com.

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