TYLER (KYTX) - Because of declining membership numbers, the Tyler Jaycees has disbanded.
The move leaves the fate of several popular Tyler events, like the Fourth of July fireworks display at Lindsey Park and the downtown Christmas parade, in limbo -- events that for so many East Texans are a tradition.
The fireworks display alone brings out about 30,000 people every year, but with no members and no money, the group has been forced to disband. And that means that unless someone else steps up, those fun events that so many families look forward to every year will be nothing more than memories.
"I know I always get teary-eyed when I see the fireworks -- I don't know why, but I do, because it makes you feel something and it makes you feel a connection with your fellow American," Alexis Nartia. who spent five years in the organization, said.
As the community lost interest over the years and people aged out of the group, membership declined.
"We kept trying to revamp the chapter and I just don't know if there wasn't enough interest in the community or what, but the numbers slowly dwindled down and we ended up where we are now," 2013 Tyler Jaycees President Bobby Jones said.
"It's more, 'What's in it for me?'" Nartia said. "People are questioning how is it going to affect their needs instead of asking, 'How is it going to affect the community, how can I make a positive impact on the community?'"
The Jaycees were also responsible for the downtown Christmas parade, which means that without them, it won't go on.
"It's heartbreaking to me just to see something that so many people have given everything they had -- their all -- to see such a great chapter in the City of Tyler strive, just dwindle away," Jones said.
Jones and Nartia both say they hope another group will step up and take action to save the events that have become so important to the community.
"It just takes a few people with like minds and a couple of other people that are willing to do the work, and that's all it takes -- just a little bit of time," Nartia said.
"It would just take an outpouring of committed people in the city of Tyler ages 21 to 40, and someone that just wants to see all these events brought back," Jones said.
It costs about $17,000 and months of preparation to put on the fireworks display each year, and with Independence Day only a month away, raising that kind of money is a long shot.
CBS19 reached out to the city of Tyler to see if there are any other plans in the works for this year's Fourth of July fireworks display, but they tell us that they haven't budgeted for the show and don't plan to take it over.