GIRARDVILLE & MAHANOY CITY - Two northern Schuylkill communities hosted events on Tuesday evening, as part of "National Night Out", and another is hosting their event on Friday.
Girardville and Mahanoy City held events on Tuesday, allowing local residents to connect with their emergency service providers, and see the equipment and vehicles they use.
According to the website for the national event, www.natw.org, National Night Out "is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live." According to the sight, a goal of the event is to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement "while bringing back a true sense of community. "
Girardville's Rangers Hose Company held an event in front of their firehouse on East Ogden Street, closing the street from 2nd Street to Line Street.
The event, in its first year, was organized in by firefighter Michael Zangari, according to Girardville Fire Chief Frank Zangari.
Emergency Apparatus from Girardville's two fire companies, the Rangers and Girard Hose Companies; Girardville EMS; and Girardville Police Department were on display for residents to see. Also present were trucks and equipment from the Girardville Borough street department.
"Their (emergency service providers) job is very important in our community, and this is an opportunity for them to show the community, in a non-emergency atmosphere, what they do, and how they support this community. It's outstanding." Chief Zangari said.
Residents could be fingerprinted at the event, while children could participate in a number of activities, from trying on turnout gear, to putting out a mock house fire with a real fire hose, and more.
Leanne Gross, of Locustdale, brought her son Scott to the event, and she believes there are benefits to events like National Night Out.
"I think it's a great thing. I love anything that my children can be involved in, to learn. Learning is a wonderful experience, with them being able to try on the gear, and to get in the fire trucks and the ambulance, they won't be afraid, once they see someone coming at them in a fire, they won't be afraid of the person standing there that looks like a scary person, they'll know they're there to help." Gross said.
"You always want to bridge the gap (between emergency service providers and the public). We want to teach kids, when you have the opportunity to talk to them, whether it's fire prevention week or it's today, to tell them not to be afraid when they see the fire trucks, not to hide, to stay close to a window or door where we can rescue them. Those are important things, and this is an opportunity where we get to share that." Chief Zangari said.
Chief Zangari noted he hopes the event continues in future years.
Mahanoy City hosted their event at the Mahanoy City Teen Canteen on East Centre Street in the borough, where residents could learn about the community they live in, as well as about the borough's emergency service providers.
Stands were set up in the main room of the teen canteen by several community organizations, such as the borough of Mahanoy City, where residents could learn about borough policies and information, and the Schuylkill County Drug and Alcohol program, where residents received information regarding drug and alcohol abuse, as well as a cinch bag.
The Mahanoy City Borough Police Department also has a stand where children could be fingerprinted.
The Mahanoy City Fire Department and Police Department displayed their apparatus along East Centre Street, where the Washington Hook & Ladder Company's Ladder 457 towered over downtown.
Free drinks, hot dogs, and snacks were given out at the event as well.
Coming Up - Ashland
Ashland is hosting a National Night Out event as well, although their's will be on Friday, August 4, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
The event, sponsored by the Ashland Community Watch, will be held at Centre and Fifth Streets in the borough. Fire Apparatus, ambulances, and a police vehicle will be on display, and the Ashland Area Historic Preservation Society will have their Station House and Jail open.
The Ashland American Legion will serve snacks, and the event wll also feature prizes for children and adults.