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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man’s love for his late wife may keep Wilmington from paying extra for this year’s 4th of July fireworks.

Tuesday night City Council will vote on whether to accept a $15,000 donation from Henry Johnston to help pay for the annual Battleship Blast.

The fireworks cost about $30,000. Traditionally, the city budgets $10,000 for the fireworks, with the Battleship North Carolina contributing $5,000 and the remaining $15,000 coming from a title sponsor. In February, the city learned that the title sponsor was dropping out, so in April, the city set aside funding to be used if a new sponsor could not be found.

If Council accepts Johnston’s donation, the money set aside will not be needed for this year’s fireworks.

Johnston founded Johnston Architecture LLP in Wilmington in 1976.

In March, his wife Lorene died after a two-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. They were married for 50 years and were regular attendees of the downtown July 4 celebration. Johnson is making the donation in honor of his late wife.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest4572

    I LOVE this! What a great send-off for his beloved. I hope they accept the donation, and I hope the local media makes certain it gets special attention on the 4th. To paraphrase the late great one…

    “one of these day’s Lorene…bam… to the moon!”

  • CherylF

    If they don’t accept his donation in memory of his late wife, then shame on them! This is such a sweet gesture- I’m sure she will enjoy the view from her side! <3

  • SoCal Visitor

    While checking for the regional events and celebrations, I stumbled upon this story. Mr. johnston, you are awesome! with a twinkle and a tear, FIREWORKS, to pay tribute to your late wife’s life. Thank you for your generous donation to celebrate our nation’s birthday.


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