By Kaylee Lindenmuth
Three northern Schuylkill communities held events for National Night Out on Tuesday, and organizers of each shared the same sentiment: bring the communities together, and bridge the gap between first responders and the public.
According to the website for National Night Out, 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."
"National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances," the site continued.
Shenandoah and Frackville held their inaugural events Tuesday evening, while Mahanoy City continued their annual event. Ashland will hold theirs on Friday, August 10.
Shenandoah's event was held along the unit block of East Washington Street, in the lot behind the new headquarters of Shenandoah Community Ambulance, from 6:00pm until 8:30pm.
"I think the main event is to get the community together, and to get them resources and make them understand what's actually here within our community, along with meeting all the emergency responders," said organizer Kelly Examitas. "Especially with the kids, if we ever have to respond to something, they can at least put names and faces together and know who's okay."
All five Shenandoah fire companies displayed their apparatus, as well along with the William Penn and Shenandoah Heights fire companies, Shenandoah Community Ambulance, Shenandoah Police, West Mahanoy Township Police, and the Schuylkill County Sheriff's Office.
Apparatus lined the unit block of East Washington Street, which was closed to traffic, while informational stands were set up in the ambulance association's rear lot. Organizations with stands included Diakon, Primary Health, the Schuylkill County 911 Center, Schuylkill Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance, among others.
Hot dogs, pierogies, refreshments, and ice cream were all donated to the event and served free of charge.
Inside the ambulance bays, "Hands Only" CPR was demonstrated, and COGI, Inc. set up a mock bedroom to show different potential warning signs in a teen's bedroom, according to Examitas.
A bike rodeo was also held at the event.