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Springfield gets its check for Bring Back the 4th
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Mayor Jeff Northway, right, along with Springfield City Council members, City Manager Brett Bennett and Brooke Burns, take possession of the $10,000 check from Liberty Mutual after the city won the company’s “Bring Back the 4th” grant competition. The money was used to stage the city’s annual fireworks show. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

It might be tough for the city of Springfield to get that check cashed at the bank.

Springfield officials, though, gladly accepted their large ceremonial check from Liberty Mutual for $10,000 after winning the company’s Bring Back the Fourth grant. The city used the money to help stage its annual fireworks show, held July 3.

“The fireworks were awesome this year,” said Mayor Jeff Northway.

Liberty Mutual awarded 10 such grants across the country to assist towns and cities with their Independence Day celebrations. Springfield got a late start on entering but its strong finish made it one of three small-sized towns in the U.S. to get the grant.

And it all started with a call from Brooke Burns to Springfield city manager Brett Bennett. Burns, who owns Burns Insurance Associates, carries Liberty Mutual among her lines of service.

“It started with one e-mail. It was a snowball effect from there,” Bennett said.

Shannon Jones of Liberty Mutual congratulated the city for winning and Burns for getting the groundswell of support started.

In alerting others to the program, those who wished to help Springfield get the grant had to answer a short quiz on American history. The call for aid went throughout the county, with those who were taking part putting in Springfield’s zip code when prompted to do so by the online quiz.

Liberty Mutual is a major sponsor of the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. But the number of towns eliminating their 4th of July fireworks displays put the wheels in motion for the grant program.

“They decided to do something to help these towns that were going to get rid of their fireworks,” Jones said. “We’re so glad it helped you out this year.”

About 3,000 towns and cities competed for the grants, and the grants may be available again next year. Jones said her small town — she lives in Davisboro, with a population of about 500 — may try for the grant next year.

“We want to continue to support this,” she said.