An assortment of community service organizations came together with the residents they serve last week for an evening of food, fellowship and mutual support.
On August 1, area residents were invited to lock their doors, turn on their outside lights and join with neighbors and police, fire and rescue personnel during the 2017 National Night Out. The event, held in the parking lot adjacent to Town Hall and the Pilot Mountain Police Department, drew a steady stream of local residents of all ages.
Among those manning the assortment of booths and activities were representatives from the Pilot Mountain Police Department, the Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad and EMS, Surry County 911 Communications, the Pilot Knob Fire Department and the Mount Airy Police Department.
In addition to candy, balloons and give-away items for adults and children, a featured booth offered information from the Carolinas Poison Center and a state agency pamphlet on bullying.
Another booth featured information on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse as well as information on potential careers with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
A DJ was on hand with music to set a festive atmosphere while youngsters lined up for the chance to soak volunteers at the dunking booth.
One of the more popular displays was a course laid out with traffic cones, on which young people under the guidance of Mount Airy Police Department School Resource Officers Garrett Chamberlain and Corporal James Simmons were given the chance to navigate on a pedal “car.” Participants could also choose to wear goggles to simulate the effect of driving while impaired.
“They have fun,” Chamberlain said of the young participants, “but they also learn about the dangers of drinking and driving.”
Meanwhile, Pilot Mountain Police Chief Darryl Bottoms was busy throughout, grilling hot dogs which were then served free of charge.
“It’s a great idea,” agreed Chief Darin Manuel of the Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad and EMS. “This gives our community an opportunity to come out and meet us and learn about what we do. They can get to know the people who will be helping them if we’re ever needed.”
“I enjoy this,” Stephanie Conner of Surry County 911 Communications added. She was on hand with the department’s RT5 Mobile Radio Trailer. “I love coming out and having the chance to meet the public and speak to people. This gives us the chance to educate them about what happens when they call 911.”
“This is nice,” noted Ruby Jones, 89, of Pilot Mountain, as she and a group of residents sat together to watch the activity while enjoying hot dogs, chips and drinks. “It’s the first time I’ve been to one of these and it’s good to see the people who are doing this coming together with the people who live here. It’s a good thing.”