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Campbell County family needs community’s help to continue late father’s firework show tradition

They started a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost

For the past 25 years, a dazzling firework display lit up the Campbell County sky the weekend before July 4th.
For the past 25 years, a dazzling firework display lit up the Campbell County sky the weekend before July 4th.

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – For the past 25 years, a dazzling firework display lit up the Campbell County sky the weekend before July 4th.

Pat DeBernard was behind the explosive event.

“When dad wasn’t working, [planning the display] was his devotion. His whole life revolved around this firework show,” said Kevin DeBernard, Pat’s son.

“This isn’t like sparklers you get at Myrtle Beach. This is like the real deal,” explained Kris DeBernard, Pat’s other son.

They say what started as a small show for family and friends, turned into an extravaganza in Rustburg. Thousands of people would line U.S. 29 and Route 24 near Yellow Branch Elementary.

Pat had plans to host this year’s event.

“He was plotting this firework show in the hospital bed,” said Kris.

Pat was diagnosed with leukemia in January and lost the battle in March at 74 years old.

“He had spoken to a gentleman in the hospital before [he passed] and said he wanted his boys to carry on this firework show,” said Kris.

That’s what the DeBernard brothers plan to do, not only for Pat but for their community.

“I know how much it meant to everybody, especially this community. Everybody, kind of, expects it now,” said Kris.

But they need help. Despite assistance from a local firework company, they have to cover costs. They decided to start a GoFundMe page.

“[My dad] was never one to ask, and he still wouldn’t ask to this day. I kind of feel bad that we have to do a GoFundMe page,” said Kris.

“This is something totally new for us, and it’s just a way for the community to actually give this year because in the past they’ve tried to give, and [my dad] wanted no part of it,” said Kevin.

The show is scheduled for June 26th at 9:30 p.m.


About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.