As fundraising for the Arbutus Fourth of July festivities continue, its longtime organizer said this year will be his last at the helm.
George Kendrick said that because of declining eyesight, he will no longer serve as chair of the Arbutus Fourth of July Committee after this year's parade. This is Kendrick's 19th parade in charge.
"I would do it forever if my eyesight were good," he said. "I've got to be honest with my kids and say I've had enough."
Kendrick, 93, has lived in Arbutus since 1959 and been involved in the sports community since 1942, when he played football with the Arbutus Athletic Association.
The combination of being a patriotic person and his love for Arbutus made him want to take over organizing the parade when the opportunity arose.
"A lot of people just live here, but I have given a lot to my community," he said. "I love Arbutus more than anything else. It's the greatest place on Earth."
He's enjoyed meeting the people who donate and sit on the sidelines watching the parade go by. He's thankful for their years of support.
Carol Mox, president of the Halethorpe Improvement Association, credits Kendrick for putting together a family-friendly event each year.
"He's always done a nice parade every year," she said. "I think it pulls together the community."
As for this year, Kendrick said the committee is in good shape, having raised about half of the necessary funding with about a month to go. The goal is $25,000.
Fliers have been sent out to several community groups urging people to donate.
The money raised, as of press time, does not include funds generated through the Firecracker 10K race that takes place the morning of July 4; in years past, the race has brought in as much as $15,000 toward the day's bottom line.
"When the race goes off that morning, I will pray for good weather, pray for a good walk-up and hopefully everything will work out," he said.
As for the future, Kendrick has begun working on forming a committee to take the reins. Several people are willing to help, he said, adding that he will continue to contribute while he can.
"As long as I'm still living, I want to be part of it," he said.
How to help
Tax-deductible donations toward the Arbutus Fourth of July parade can be sent to:
Arbutus Fourth of July Committee
Arbutus Recreation and Parks Council
P.O. Box 7437
Baltimore, MD 21227
For any questions, call chairman George Kendrick at 410-242-1143.