Today was the first full day of business for two guys who say they are loving Nevada and its people.
Michael Thompson and his father, Charles, both of Jefferson, will be selling fireworks along 19th Street, just south of the Fawcett Aquatic Center from now until July 8.
The senior English major at Iowa State University and the semi-retired pastor are both veterans and might seem an unlikely pair to be selling fireworks, but it’s something they kind of fell into, Charles said.
The opportunity came up, and a family member who is good with business management — McKenzie Dreezen, who will manage their business — agreed to do it. That combined with the fact that both men, father and son, could use the opportunity to raise funds for a cause they are passionate about sealed the deal.
“We were at the right place at the right time,” Charles said, about how it all came together.
Their fireworks sales, out of the temporary parking lot location, are made through the Iowa Fireworks Company, and a percentage of the funds raised from their sales will go to the charity the two support, the LCpl. Ben Carman Academy, a non-profit 501c3 organization.
“We take kids who have just enlisted in any (branch) of the military and give them lessons on firearms, map reading, medical things …,” Charles explained.
Carman, the namesake of the organization, was a next door neighbor to the Thompsons and a Marine who was killed in Iraq. “He used to jump on my trampoline when he was little,” Charles said. “So this (fireworks sales) is an opportunity to get our academy going in a good way.”
Charles said all six of his children have served in the military and are veterans, and on their first full day of business, which up to 3 p.m. had already brought in over $800 worth in sales, Charles and Michael said they’d met and visited with a few veterans, along with many others.
The two said they came into town yesterday, June 14, but by the time they got set up properly, they only had about two hours to sell. Today, they were able to sell all day.
Part of getting set up properly, which both men say is important, was to meet with Nevada Fire Chief Ray Reynolds, who they found to be very helpful. The three things, they said, that Reynolds made a point of with them is that they: 1) do not sell to people under the age of 18, 2) that they do not sell to anyone who appears to be intoxicated and 3) that they watch very closely for shoplifters.
“We’re going to be sure there’s always two people here and that everything gets locked up tightly at night,” Charles said.
Safety and rules are very important, they say. In fact, the Iowa Fireworks Company has printed a “Fireworks Safety Tips” sheet of information, and the City of Nevada also has a sheet printed with its rules on it.
The fireworks shop along 19th Street will be open Monday through Saturday until July 8, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.