Staples in the Sequim Christian ministry for years, Jonathan and Kenda Simonson have also helped locals celebrate the Fourth of July by selling fireworks for nearly two decades.
This year, the couple continued selling fireworks in Sequim Walmart’s parking lot for their Sequim Vineyard Church youth outreach. Proceeds help support their music ministry, children’s camp tuition and more, Jonathan said.
“When it comes down to it, we’re all about serving the kids,” he said.
For the second year, the City of Sequim continued its ban on discharging fireworks in city limits; however, with the proper permits, some nonprofits such as the Simonsons’ are allowed to sell safe and sane fireworks for eight days.
Sequim allows up to four booths. The Simonsons were the only one setup in Sequim this year. (The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe also stopped selling fireworks this year from its popular booth to open an office for its resort/hotel construction.)
“With three less stands and the tribe no longer doing it, there’s a deficit in the area,” Jonathan said.
He and Kenda have sold fireworks at booths for at least 16 years in Sequim and Port Angeles for their ministries.
“Kenda sells and I socialize,” Jonathan joked.
But the couple said they find a strong connection with the community and fireworks.
For Kenda, it’s helped her open up.
“I’m typically a very introverted person, but for some reason in this setting I’m able to connect with people more. I’m able to connect with people from the time we open to the time we close every day (10 a.m.-10 p.m.).
There are people who come back year after year and they say, ‘Hey, haven’t seen you for awhile. How you doing?’
I’ve connected with the community way more than I normally would have been through being here, and I’ve really enjoyed that aspect.”
Jonathan recalls one family in particular he felt led to help.
“There was a family that kept coming in and counting their pennies wanting to get fireworks. They’re really like ‘We can’t afford this one, and we can’t afford this one. Put that one back.’ They’re little kids trying to learn this budgeting thing and their parents really didn’t have the money.
I think part of this is being able to help. They had what they wanted to get, and we were able to grab a few things and say, ‘Here are some things, too.’
We just wanted to keep blessing them. It’s kind of like a Christmas thing. It’s not about as much of the selling things as that personal connection with people and building relationships.
There are others of course who can spend $300 on fireworks and that’s cool for them. They’re having family over or a party, but the ones who can’t, it’s kind of encouraging to love on them.
We get a percentage of what TNT (fireworks company) gives us. It helps our family, our church, and the community and that’s really important when we’re able to love on people.”
For more information about Sequim Vineyard Church, visit www.facebook.com/sequimvineyard.
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