EAST PALESTINE — A few local businesses got a head start on this year’s Fourth of July festivities through a little friendly competition.

The businesses joined together to raise money for the East Palestine Firefighter’s Association for the Fourth of July fireworks display.

The association took over the fireworks display three years ago and is responsible for the purchase of the fireworks and the actual display.

Association president Rick Gorby said John Cozza, owner of Cozza’s Pizza, approached a firefighter recently to express his interest in supporting the firework display this year.

Cozza decided to give the association $2 off every pizza sold from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. one day this month, and also donated money from each additional pizza topping ordered that day.

Shortly after, Curt McCowin and Becky Horn, owners of McCowin Heating and Cooling, offered to match dollar for dollar what Cozza’s Pizza raised, Gorby said.

In turn, David and Kattie Lynn Royal of the Linsley-Royal Funeral Home offered to donate dollar for dollar as well.

“It started as a little gesture but snowballed into a big fundraiser for us,” Gorby said.

Gorby said the fireworks display generally costs around $8,000 each year.

“It’s a huge investment to do it,” he said.

The association is able to put on the display since firefighter and EMT Steve Tigelman is a licensed pyrotechnician, and six or seven firefighters also earned assistant licenses to be able to help him, Gorby added.

The association also raises money for the fireworks display through a boot drive on the Fourth of July, and during the annual Street Fair.

The privately run association also raises money to be able to purchase equipment for the fire department. Once the equipment is turned over it is then owned by the village.

The association was able to buy the department pneumatic rescue tools a few years ago, and has also outfitted trucks with shelving for tools and other equipment.

“Right now we are looking at stuff for EMS,” Gorby said.

Exactly what the association hopes to purchase for the EMS department has yet to be decided since it is the beginning of the year.

The association holds private meetings once a month to discuss those matters.

“We have always found the community to be very supportive to the fire department. We do appreciate that,” Gorby said.


Article originally published in Morning Journal News