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Scaled-back National Night Out in Middletown well-attended

By David Barr davidbarr@pressandjournal.com
Posted 8/9/17

Middletown’s National Night Out on Aug. 1 was attended by hundreds of residents, who came out to meet and introduce themselves to their local first responders, learn about different aspects of …

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Scaled-back National Night Out in Middletown well-attended


Middletown’s National Night Out on Aug. 1 was attended by hundreds of residents, who came out to meet and introduce themselves to their local first responders, learn about different aspects of what police and firefighters do, and come together as a unified community.

Activities included exploring the inside and roof of a firetruck, fingerprinting demonstrations, fire evacuation drills, a DUI-related obstacle course, and meetings with local and state first responders. That was all in addition to the bounce houses, dunk tank, horseback ride, food and the playground at Hoffer Park.

Middletown Police Officer Adam Tankersley, who was in charge of coordinating the event for the first time this year, called the event a “complete success.”

Tankersley put his mark on the event, as it was smaller in years’ past, but more intimate, as the goal of the event was to forge a better relationship with the community and remind residents that first responders are human. Tankersley said he was pleased with the turnout, the help, and event itself as people milled around with police officers and firefighters during the evening.

“It’s bigger than I thought. Everyone came together. We’re all fighting the same cause. We are all a family,” Tankersley said.

Shawn Menear has been with the Middletown Fire Department for 18 years since he was a teenager, and has been a participant in National Night Out for the last three years.

“It’s great for the community to come out and meet us, see what we do,” Menear said.

For Menear, the best part of National Night Out is helping the community learn about the local first responders and meeting those the first responders serve, as that’s what it’s all about, according to Menear.

Fire Chief John Weikle of the Lower Swatara Fire Department echoed Menear’s belief that the event was a chance for both sides to meet and get to know one another in a pleasant environment rather than the normal circumstances that force residents and first responders to meet.

“It’s nice to talk to people and not be in that stressful situation,” Weikle said.

He added that the question most asked during National Night Out is what the wood stored inside one of the trucks on display was used for. The answer is the wood is used to help levitate an overturned vehicle and keep it from falling on a victim.

Rebecca Clarkson and her two children Regan, 5, and Rowyn, 6, elected to go through the mock fire evacuation activity, put on by Lower Swatara. Regan wasn’t a big fan of the faux smoke used in the simulation, but she did learn one important rule when it comes to evacuating a home or building: “Drop on the floor when there’s smoke,” Regan said.

Faith Frady and her daughter Destiny Tetzloff were with their friends Katie Hoffer and Katelyn Rogers, and Rogers’ two daughters Lily and Harper.

The girls had explored a firetruck and police car, jumped around in one of the bounce houses, met a police K-9, and had their fingerprints taken, but both Lily and Destiny said their favorite activity of the evening had been the pony rides.

All three women were in support of the event and the opportunities it offered to support the first responders and bring the community together.

“There’s a lot of interaction with people you wouldn’t normally interact with,” Rogers said, adding that if it would be possible, maybe the event could be held once a season during the year, up to four times a year.

“It would be cool if they did it more often,” Frady said.


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