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Rep. Hill aids local church, college students with fireworks sales

By Jonathan Pleasant
Government officials use a wide variety of tools to work within their respective communities. Efforts can range from a simple town hall meeting to helping a civic organization with an important fund-raiser. With the 4th of July holiday fast approaching, State Representative Timothy Hill may have discovered one of the most creative ways to be a presence in the county while at the same time working for a good cause.
Having held several conversations with local citizens, Hill was given the idea of setting up his own temporary firework shop. While the notion seemed a little incredulous at first, life has a funny way of working things out, and as the representative spoke to several members of Dyson Grove Baptist Church, he quickly identified a need. With the members replacing their aging church house on Highway 167, the idea of a firework stand came up once again after speaking to a member of the congregation.
Seeing the possibility of raising some funds to help with the ongoing building project, Hill began to look a little closer at the proposition. From the outset Hill realized he would need some help in setting up and running the operation and surprisingly, Dyson Grove was able to play a role again. Quickly pointing out three members who had just graduated high school, Hill soon saw a dual benefit in not only aiding the building fund but also in raising a little money to give these young men a proper send off for college. 
Jon Vannoy, Elijah Osborne and Colton Fenner all had bright careers at Johnson County and are poised to do well at the next level. Vannoy was the first to come onboard with the fireworks plan, but as Hill pointed out the other two were quick to follow.  “Jon’s dad and I were talking about it and I asked him ‘Do you think that something like this would go well in Johnson County?’” Hill explained.  “He said yes and I told him we were going to need some folks to run it and that’s kind of how we got together. It was literally just through the course of three or four conversations. They have worked so hard and I’m very proud of them. They were here from day one when we put the tent up, to devising strategies about how to get the word out, and the layout of the actual fireworks. They have been a big part of it and I’ve been very fortunate to have them.”
A former member of the Longhorn baseball team, Vannoy has signed with Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky and plans on pursuing a career in physical education. Osborne is an honors student who is looking at pre med at ETSU, and Fenner, a noted musician among other talents, intends to pursue a communications degree at Milligan.
“It’s very encouraging because they are all three young men of faith,” Hill said about his new found co-workers. “They care very much about their church. We’re going to put a portion of the proceeds into Dyson Grove’s building fund, and they’re really excited about that. Having them involved is good and we’re hopeful to support them and give them a good first step in going to college out of Johnson County.”
The stand is located on the grounds of the old Grace Springs roofing truss plant in Neva. Working the last couple of weeks, Hill admitted that business has been slow, but he was optimistic that as the fourth draws closer more people will stop by. “We’ve been open 10 days and it’s just now starting to pick up a little bit,” Hill said. “We kind of wanted a place that was a little separate from the other fireworks tents. It’s a little further out but everyone knows where 167 is, where the truss plant is. I’ve never run one of these before, so we’re just going to have to see how it goes. Most purchases will be made the few days before the fourth. We hope that it picks up and as people find out through things like Facebook and social media they may realize it’s not just some fireworks tent at the old truss plant. It is a business but it has a little bit of a twist.”
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.