A request for the Lion's Club to use the Kerr McGee Center for free for a Bingo fundraiser May 20 had a surprise ending Wednesday when an anonymous donor kicked in $660 ― enough to pay for the facility use.


At a previous city council meeting, Lion Steve Morgan requested use of the facility as an in-kind donation because it will be used to raise funds for their annual Fourth of July fireworks show for the community. The item was put on the May 3 agenda at Mayor Peggy Breeden's request.


And council agreed. After some discussion about fairness and appropriateness which acknowledged the city cannot afford to donate use of the center to every non-profit group which asks, council decided to approve this in-kind donation because the event was directly for the benefit of the community. “The Lion’s Club is basically doing us a service [by providing the Fireworks display],” Mayor Pro Tem Michael Mower said. “Fireworks are not cheap.”


Lion's Club President Ken Echeberry also spoke up. The Lions intend to spend $22,000 this year on the display, he said. He said that contributions are down, however, and unless there is “an influx of funding” the club may have to discontinue the displays.


Mike Neel also spoke up, saying he approved the motion and joking it was the rare time he and Steve Morgan were in agreement.


Approval was unanimous. All five council members were present.


The meeting moved on and was nearing its conclusion when Echeberry approached the podium with a surprise announcement to make.


“Did you want to report something?” Mayor Peggy Breeden asked.


Echeberry replied in the affirmative. He said he was speaking “in regards to the motion that was made earlier.” Echeberry said on their way out, Lion's Club representatives were approached by a “concerned citizen” worried about the same issues as council,“other organizations wanting the same sort of thing [free use of facilities].


“Apparently there is a concerned citizen out there who is concerned about that and wrote me a check for $660 for the city to cover that fee,” Echeberry said. “They would like to remain anonymous, but that money would be to cover the fee for the city.”


He handed the check to Finance Director Tyrell Staheli.


“Thank you to that anonymous person,” Breeden said.