For much of the Fourth of July, the little town of Greenback came alive as people splashed one another with water, ate hot dogs for a good cause and happily danced around the depot hours after the city held a large patriotic parade.
“It’s a really big day for a really tiny town,” Wendy Tittsworth, Greenback events coordinator, said. “... The parade that we had today was the biggest in the history that we’ve ever had, the longest parade that we’ve ever had. We had more attendance that we’ve ever had.”
For the city of roughly 1,000 residents, Thursday included an arts and crafts festival followed by a celebration downtown that was capped off with fireworks.
Beginning at 6 p.m., residents ventured downtown for food, crafts, dunking city mayor Dewayne Birchfield in water, soaking each other with water guns and water activities, line dancing and, after a long absence, square dancing.
Tittsworth said square dancing made a return after about 20 years. Hopes are to make it a tradition again.
“One thing that we noticed is after years of sitting kind of stagnant, the town is really beginning to revitalize,” she said. “I think the reason behind that is we’re letting our citizens take part in getting things done in town. When you allow somebody to take part, they feel a little bit of ownership and pride because it’s more of their town then. All of the things that we have, the crafts and things that we have tonight, were all donated items.”
Everything except the fireworks and a line dance instructor was donated, Tittsworth said.
Money was raised through a hot dog dinner and dunking Birchfield to purchase new CPR training dummies for the Greenback Rescue Squad.
“That was kind of a little joke with Wendy during one of the meetings. I had to calm her down, you know, and she said, ‘You’re going to the dunking booth. Payback’,” Birchfield said with a laugh. “But the money that’s raised from that will go to the rescue squad and stuff.”
A final number could not be determined by News-Herald presstime, but Greenback Rescue Squad Deputy Chief Channing Ledbetter estimated $2,500-$3,500 was needed.
“There’s always the need and an awareness to give the CPR training out there,” Ledbetter said. “Especially if you’re having to administer CPR, it’s important to get that started immediately because the longer you go the less chance of survival. Every minute the chance goes down either brain damage or what not. So the more people we can get trained gives us just that extra little bit amount of time whether it could be two minutes or it could be five minutes depending on where we have to go to get that CPR started.”
Kathy Neely sat out front of the depot encouraging passersby to write a letter to a soldier to let them know they are appreciated. Children could also decorate their letters.
“I had two sons in the military and it’s very important for them to get something from home,” Neely said. “Of course, mine were lucky, they got quite a bit, but they have told me about ones that didn’t get anything from home and it’s very hard to them. It’s very hard on the soldiers.
“They get depressed and to me that’s where a lot of the PTSD comes in because they feel like nobody cares about them,” she added. “So they really enjoy getting stuff from home. We’re going to try our best to get these to people that don’t receive from their families.”
Tittsworth sees a city coming alive.
“Just coming back to life,” she said. “I really feel like with the changes we’ve had in this city it’s a very, very positive direction we’re going in. It’s really a more positive overall feeling in the town, I guess. You see a lot more smiling.”