The city of Bexley will pay tribute to a fallen hero during the community's annual Fourth of July celebration.

The city of Bexley will pay tribute to a fallen hero during the community's annual Fourth of July celebration.

The parade's theme "It Takes a Village," honors Bexley fallen war hero Steven Zilberman who died in March over the Arabian Sea after returning from a mission in Afghanistan. He was a 1997 graduate of Bexley High School.

Bexley Celebrations Association spokeswoman Anne Lewis said Zilberman opted not to land his plane on the aircraft carrier because he didn't have enough control of the plane and feared his three crew members would be injured.

"He died making those decisions," she said. "We are honoring him. That is the fundamental reason why we are able to have such celebrations."

Festivities begin with the John Barr 5k at 8 a.m with the parade following at 9:30 a.m. The parade is expected to end before noon.

Bexley history buff Ben Heckman will dress up as Ben Franklin and deliver the Declaration of Independence from the front porch of his home at the corner of Euclare Avenue and Main Street.

Maryland Elementary special education teacher Denny Devine is being honored as Citizen of the Year. Devine was selected because she embodies the spirit of volunteerism, Lewis said, by volunteering for organizations like the Joint Organization for Inner-City Needs.

"She touches a lot of people in a lot of different ways," Lewis said.

As part of the Fourth of July festivities, three Bexley High School alumni will be honored Priscilla Mason Hewetson, class of 1952; Dr. Andrew G. Wallace, Class of 1953 and honorary alumnus Barb Greiner, Bexley Recreation and Parks recreation specialist.

"She is an honorary alumnus because she is so involved with so many different aspects of the community," Lewis said.

Fourth of July festivities will conclude with the fireworks at Capital University featuring music by McGuffey Lane.

"I was an 80s high school kid," Lewis said. "They were huge when I was in high school. I think it is going to be a blast to have a band like them."

The evening activities begin at 5 p.m. and feature food sponsored by the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce, games and the Columbus Saints Drumline leading fireworks spectators back to Capital

The chamber donated $2,500 to the BCA to help offset the costs of 15 food vendors. Without the contribution BCA might have charged a booth fee, Lewis said.

Chamber president Mary Greenman said the chamber wanted to support the Fourth of July because the community enjoys the festivities. The best way for the chamber to help out was to contribute toward the costs, she said.

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