Total Pageviews

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

National Night Out in Riverview: Free Pizza

Pictures are from last year's "We Care" gift basket deliveries because of COVID, and from the in-person event in the ballfield two years ago.

They are your friends.  They are your neighbors.  You see them all the time, in the grocery stores, at church, in the mall.  You see them all over town and sometimes you may not even know who they are because you've never met them.  They're often the silent heroes in our community.  And they are also the first people you call in an emergency.

     Kingsport's upcoming annual National Night Out event in the V.O. Dobbins ballfield will bring law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and other first responders together with the people they serve.  "Kingsport is a collection of good neighborhoods in a safe, friendly and welcoming community," says Mayor Pat Shull.  "We welcome everyone to attend the National Night out activities and help celebrate the Kingsport Spirit."

     Covid prevented people from gathering last year from celebrating that "thank you" spirit.  Members of the New Vision Youth delivered "We Care" gift baskets to local first responders at their bases of operation and while the spirit was there, everyone is looking forward to getting back together this year in a big way.


     Kingsport police officers, Sullivan County sheriff's deputies, Kingsport firefighters, emergency medical technicians, life-saving crew members and representatives from Ballad Health's medical facilities will all be on hand this coming Thursday for their annual "meet and greet" session with residents.  People will get the chance to meet new first responders they've never met, and greet first responders again that they may already know.  "We're always delighted to attend the National Night Out event," says KPD's Public Information Officer Tom Patton.  "Meeting people continues our mission of preventing crime in our neighborhoods and throughout the entire community."

     This year's National Night Out in Kingsport will be held on Thursday, October 13, 2022 in the V.O. Dobbins (Douglass) ballfield on MLK Drive at Louis Street, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.  In case it rains, the free event will move inside the nearby V.O. Dobbins gymnasium.  It's not just an adult event... special attention is being paid to grab the children's focus.  "Parents can get their children fingerprinted and firefighters will have equipment available," says event organizer Johnnie Mae Swagerty.  "One of the most popular activities for children is 'touch a truck' where the fire department sets up one of their fire trucks.  Children can get inside, try on the firefighting equipment, and see what the firefighters do in emergencies.  Law enforcement also has some activities planned as well."

     Special emphasis is always placed on children's interaction with first responders.  "Sometimes, little children can be bothered by the sight of total strangers at their homes during a fire, or someone reaching towards them in the confusion of an accident," says Swagerty.  "Seeing strangers in an already stressful situation like that might further traumatize them... they're already going through a bad time.  With National Night Out, we want them to meet and get to know these first responders in a friendly setting, so that they can be familiar with them in an uncomfortable setting later."

     Local National Night Out sponsors are the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation, in partnership with the New Vision Youth group, Kingsport Parks and Recreation, and the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority.  Other local sponsors are Food City, Starbucks, Chef's Pizzaria, Texas Roadhouse. and the Sullivan County Anti-Drug Coalition.  Chef's Pizzaria will also give out free pizza and Starbucks will give out free desserts and free coffee bags.   There will also be door prizes as well.

     There's also a challenge being given out as well.  "We want to challenge all neighborhoods to come out and meet and greet their first responders," says Swagerty.  "Bring your children and your lawn chairs.  Every neighborhood in Kingsport has had a first responder on their streets, even lately.  They always come as quickly as possible and they keep our lives, our homes and our property safe.  Most of the time, you will see them first during a traumatic event."

     "National Night Out on Thursday can be your way of saying 'thank you' for always being there."