DOWNEY - The July 4 holiday weekend has passed with few problems. The police and fire departments were busy with many holiday-related incidents but not overwhelmed with calls for service.One fireworks-related structure fire occurred on July 4. The city celebration at Downey High School went as planned with music and activities starting at 5 p.m. A brief official ceremony was held at 8:30 p.m. with the fireworks display starting promptly at 9 p.m. An estimated crowd of 10,000 attended the event. The guests appeared to enjoy the wide-open spaces on the Downey football field and the seating in the stands. One couldn't help but notice the happiness of the crowd. Children kicked soccer balls and ran around on a football field they rarely play on. Adults enjoyed and appreciated the sounds of Steel Rod, DW3, Class 6 and Roadhouse Ron. A special moment for many was the amazing performance of Eileen Garrido, an 11-year-old Downey resident, as she sang the National Anthem. As expected, the highlight of the evening was the fireworks display. The discharge site of the fireworks was on campus and in close proximity to the crowd. The sounds of the mortars being fired, the choreographed music played through the stadium sound system and the brightness of the fireworks directly overhead, added to the enjoyment of the display. There were lots of 'ooohs and ahhhs' during the 20-minute professional presentation. Once the fireworks display was finished, the peaceful crowd left the Downey campus in an orderly manner. By 10 p.m. there were few people left on the football field besides those taking down the stage and children's play area equipment. Fortunately, there were no event problems. The preparation and staffing for the event was mostly done with volunteers. The Downey High Football, Band and Baseball booster clubs all sold food and beverages to the large crowd. The Downey ASB club made the event signs and helped decorate the area. Bill and Jeannie Wood, Downey residents, helped decorate the stages. Downey Police Explorers staffed the three points of entry to the campus (with the professional oversight of the Downey Police Department personnel). Several members of the Fire and Police Departments provided professional crowd and fireworks display oversight. The event would not have been possible without the generous community sponsors who dug deep and made their donations. There were over 75 contributors to the event. Twenty-two sponsors contributed $1,000 or more. The sponsors were listed on the entrance banners and on a special event banner draped across the main stage. The event staff T-shirts also listed the sponsors. The event at Downey High School was a collaborative effort. It could not have been done without the efforts of Principal Tom Houts and his wonderful, hard-working staff members. Collectively, the Downey High team performed very effectively and efficiently. City public works staff members were also critical members of the team. They provided city equipment for the entertainment, electrical power and traffic issues at the site. The event proved to be an excellent example of how the city and DUSD work together for the benefit of the community. By Tuesday morning, there was little evidence of the July 4 celebration on the Downey campus. Mark Sauter is a deputy city manager in charge of emergency preparedness for the city of Downey.
********** Published: July 8, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 12