Lions Club shares fireworks revenue

The Huntington Beach Lions Club donated the money it raised from selling fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday to nonprofits in the city.

The club gave $5,000 each to the Huntington Beach Therapeutic Riding Center and Huntington Beach Boy Scout Troop 1, said club President Steve Christy.

The Lions Club was one of 10 organizations that was chosen through a lottery to sell "safe and sane" fireworks in the city for the first time in 25 years.

Other organizations threw their names in the hat, including the therapeutic riding center, but were not picked.

Both Christy and riding center President Dave Quatman were at City Hall awaiting the results of the lottery when Quatman suggested to Christy that if his organization got selected he would like to partner together and vice versa.

"As it turns out, they were drawn and we weren't," Quatman said.

But the two worked together, and the therapeutic riding center helped the Lions Club set up the booth, maintain it, secure it and sell fireworks. The Boy Scout troop also helped.

"At the end, the Lions Club was kind enough to write us a check for $5,000," Quatman said.

Founded in the 1990, the therapeutic riding center provides therapy using horses to individuals with a variety of disabilities from autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome to learning disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, according to its website.

The Lions Club also donated some money to the Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguards, Christy said.

In total, the Lions Club raised $16,000 from fireworks, which were legalized for a two-year trial period. An attempt by Mayor Don Hansen to place a measure on the November ballot that, if passed, would have prevented the city from banning the sale and discharge of fireworks failed to receive enough votes from the City Council.

Both Christy and Quatman said they saw no problems during the Fourth of July holiday and everything went smoothly, and they hope the city continues to allow the sale of fireworks during the holiday.

"They get in the city one way or another," Christy said. "This way it's legal and the profit comes back to Huntington Beach. It's a win/win."

But others have said lifting the ban on fireworks brought chaos to their neighborhoods and illegal fireworks increased. Law enforcement officials also said their resources were strained and the use of illegal fireworks increased because they were more easily hidden among the legal ones.

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