WOODBINE — A dad and his three sons are doing good for their community and having some fun along the way, too.
Bob Wagner, of Woodbine, and his three sons Andy, Brian and Derek (all three are from Woodbine, too), through their non-profit called Woodbine Area Youth Sports or WAYS for short, are raising money and gifting it to youth sports organizations in town.
“My dad is the one who got the ball rolling [with this idea],” said Brian.
For the last two years, their main focus has been selling an item known most often to be used on the Fourth of July holiday…fireworks.
The four gentlemen received them from the Iowa Fireworks Company to sell at their stand, located on the Riverside Lumber and Steel property, which sits on the east side of the road south and west of Woodbine on Highway 30.
The stand usually opens in roughly mid-June and closes down shortly after the Fourth of July.
At first, the Wagner family sold the fireworks privately, then gave the money back to these organizations.
Selling the fireworks went well the first year, 2019, to the tune of $30,000 worth. The Wagners are able to keep 10 percent of the total, or $3,000.
The money was split up and went to the following: the Woodbine Little League Baseball organization as well as the Woodbine Fire & Rescue Association and Wildcats traveling baseball team. (That team is made up of athletes from not only Woodbine but other towns in Harrison County, too.)
After that first year, the guys said they learned a lot and had some discussions about the next year, what they would do the same and different.
Through those talks, the Wagners decided to start a non-profit, called WAYS, and funnel the money through it to then give away.
This year, the non-profit raked in $5,000 from fireworks sales, staying open from June 19 to July 5.
“This year we sold of everything, pretty much,” said Brian.
Switching things up a little bit from boys sports to girls sports, the money went to the Little League Softball organization and to buying new jerseys for the Woodbine School junior high girls and junior high boys basketball teams.
The group said that although the setting up and tear down as well as the rest of the process can be labor intensive, they enjoy getting to interact with people and talk about the different types of fireworks they sell.
Focusing on giving back to youth sports has been important for these gentlemen because a couple of them have kids in them right now.
We (meaning Brian and I) have boys who play youth sports and know how much things cost, said Andy.
“From playing to coaching, we know what they get and what they don’t,” Derek commented.
We just want them to have a little bit nicer stuff than we did when we came up through those little league organizations, Derek said.
Next year, the group hopes to get the community a little more involved in helping with the fireworks booth.
As for the future, they do have some big dreams and ideas as far as moving into other avenues to help increase their revenues.
“We got a lot of big dreams, but we’re taking baby steps right now,” said Bob, noting how they are just getting started and still learning the ins and outs of running a non-profit.