The Times West Virginian

Local News

July 4, 2014

Houghtons involved with Fairview’s July 4 for more than 30 years

FAIRVIEW — Helping plan Fairview’s Fourth of July activities is a family affair for the Houghtons, who have been volunteering for the annual event for more than 30 years.

Delmas Houghton was the first member to help with the town’s Fourth of July Committee. Houghton had a friend who was on the committee.

“I was interested in joining anyway, so I accepted the invitation,” Houghton said.

Many members of the committee had won the Mary Sturm award, an award given to individuals who give outstanding community service.

“I wanted those kind of people to be around them to influence them,” Houghton said.

Sharon Houghton, Delmas Houghton’s wife, supported the committee, then joined the committee after she retired.

“All through those years when I wasn’t on the committee, everybody in

town thought I was on the committee because everybody was always giving me suggestions, and it’s just like I was,” she said.

Before joining the committee, Sharon contributed to the celebration as a member of the Friends of the Library by handing out flags. Sharon helps set up different areas around town for the holiday and is a member of the community band. The band marches during the parade and has a show.

Delmas Houghton’s son, Jeff Houghton, joined the committee when he was 16 years old in 1984.

“My dad had joined the committee a year or two prior to that and he said, ‘Hey, why don’t you come and help with this?’” Jeff said. “That was great. For me, that was like being invited to go work at Disney World when you’re visiting as a kid.”

Jeff said he has more fun being on the committee than he did when he participated in the activities, and has been involved in almost every aspect of the celebration. He has also lived in Virginia, Tennessee and Texas and has “missed very few” July Fourth celebrations in Fairview.

Jeff has spent most of his time on the games subcommittee and enjoys that the most.

Their daughter, Jennifer Houghton Lackey, annually drives to Fairview for the Fourth of July.

Lackey was born and raised in Fairview and spent time living in Tennessee, Ohio, Alaska and Georgia. Even though she has lived throughout the country, she comes to her home for the Fourth of July.

“I must have brought home four or five cakes four or five years in a row and so they finally said, ‘You ought to just be on this committee,’” Lackey said. “But my dad was already involved and my older brother, so when I got old enough, I joined.”

This year, 28 years after joining the Fourth of July Committee in Fairview, Lackey drove from Baltimore, Maryland, to help set up for the Independence Day festivities. She brought her husband, Mark Lackey, and daughter along with her to help.

“It was kind of an understanding that she would come back every summer and be a part of this,” Mark said. “She wanted me to do it, too.”

Delmas’ 7-year-old grandson wanted to join the committee as well.

“Last summer he said, ‘Grandpa, what do I have to do to join the committee? Do I have to fill out an application or anything? Do they have to vote on me?’” Houghton said.

Houghton told his grandson he was on the committee.

“So the first meeting we had this year, he came, but he decided that he should be 8 years old before he joins,” Houghton said. “He’s waiting in the wings to come on.”

Email Richard Babich at or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.

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