As the Governor moves the state to re-open, many scheduled events are still feeling the impact of social distancing and the COVID-19 crisis. Many budgets have become stressed from months of inactivity, dwindling sponsorships, or fear of a secondary surge. So, when Osceola Chamber Main Street announced last week that Osceola’s famed 4th of July celebrations were canceled, a shockwave rolled through the community. Not only would the parade, the activities on the square, and the weekend of social games and gatherings be lost to the crisis, but the apex of the weekend, the Osceola 4th of July fireworks show, would fizzle as well. That was until Ashleigh Eckels, Osceola Chamber Main Street Executive Director and City Administrator, Ty Wheeler reached out to the team at Osceola Foods. Within hours of learning about the need, Hormel and Osceola Foods decided, The Show Must Go On!
“The decision to cancel 4th of July events didn’t come easily,” said Eckels. “We immediately started contacting sponsors to find a solution. The event committee even set up a GoFundMe page in hopes of keeping even the fireworks show scheduled.”
In a flurry of emails and phone calls, the request for support went out. Within hours, John Hoag, Plant Manager at Osceola Foods sent the message up the ranks to Hormel to make the request. And by early the next day, the confirmation came in that substantial funding for the fireworks program would be taken care of by their organization. With a corporate donation to Osceola Chamber Main Street in the amount of $12,000, Hormel and Osceola Foods rescued the 4th of July fireworks celebration from being another victim of the COVID crisis.
“Hormel has deep ties to Osceola. Many leaders have come through the plant and lived in the community,” said Hoag. “When they learned that the community was in need, support for the donation came quickly.”
“This is just another example of Hormel’s ongoing leadership in Clarke County’s manufacturing base,” said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the Clarke County Development Corporation. “They continue to help make Clarke County a better place to live.”
For close to 25 years, Osceola Foods has been an integral part of the local community. With a massive workforce pulled from around Clarke County, central Iowa, and northern Missouri, they understand the value of support, family and dedication. Annually, and without fanfare or need of recognition, they commit thousands of dollars in donations and gifts to community programs as well as local food pantries. With the generous donation for the 4th of July fireworks show, they’ve truly become a savior for celebration in Clarke County.
“I am extremely grateful to John Hoag and Hormel for their support and recognition of what the 4th of July celebration means to our community,” said Ty Wheeler, City Administrator commented. “Hormel is very community minded and we are fortunate to have them as partners”
The Osceola fireworks show is scheduled for Saturday, July 4th and will be set off from Lakeside Casino. This is an opportunity for the entire community to gather, at a safe social distance, of course, and celebrate life and living in Osceola and Clarke County, Iowa.