Public gets a chance to mingle with emergency responders

BUCKHANNON — A local community event that lets residents get to know their emergency responders brought out hundreds of people to the Catherine “Splash” Williams Pool Facility for swimming, food, music and the chance to win door prizes Tuesday.
“The purpose of National Night Out is to have an evening for the community to come out and for families to come out and have some good, clean fun,” Buckhannon Police chief Matt Gregory said. “They have a chance to meet each of the police officers and other emergency responders and learn about the services available to them.”
Most of the Buckhannon Police Department officers were on hand with a couple on vacation. Officers were joined by Volunteers in Police Service members and Upshur County EMS personnel who helped serve up Zul’s, pizza by the slice, give out door prize tickets and interact with the kids and adults. Various agencies from the Upshur County Family Resource Network, Upshur County Tobacco Prevention Coalition, United Summit Center, Women’s Aid in Crisis and more set up booths.
Outside the pool gates, Upshur County EMS and Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department brought apparatus for the public to tour.
Long before the gates opened at 6 p.m., a line started forming and the line eventually stretched into the upper parking lot by the high school.
Gregory said, “It was wonderful. I think it was a very successful year. I think the numbers were very similar to what we had last year. Last year was a record year and I think we saw that again this year.”
Organizers were able to count approximately 558 tickets that were turned in for a free slice of pizza, according to Gregory.
There was enough Zul’s for 700 people and those were given out in two hours, he added.
The Zul’s helped wash down 80 pizzas that were ordered for the event. There were no leftovers.
Brad Allen was the deejay for the evening while Key to Adam provided musical entertainment as well.
Brenda Thompson brought her grandson, Ronin, to swim and participate in the other activities with this friends.
While Thompson kept a watchful eye on her grandson, she was able to visit with the organizations and enjoy the evening as well.
“They always have really good, useful information,” she said. “I think it’s great for the community. I think they need to do more. It’s something everyone looks forward to coming to and not just for the swimming and food.”
Anthony Conrad was at the event with his kids.
“It’s good for the community,” Conrad said. “I enjoy seeing everyone getting together.”
And Gregory said that is what NNO is all about.
“This is an event that allows us to have a positive interaction with the community and we try to seek as many opportunities in that regard,” he said.
The BPD also used the event as a recruiting night for VIPS — the volunteer arm of the police force. Anyone interested in becoming a VIPS should contact the BPD at 304-472-5723 or visit for more information.

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