LEWISBURG — The Village of Lewisburg, Lewisburg Police Department, and Lewisburg Fire/EMS collaborated to host Community Night Out on Tuesday, Oct. 1.
According to Mayor Marsha Jones, the village originally wanted to participate in National Night Out on the secondary date in October. However, officials rebranded the event to Community Night Out so they wouldn’t feel any pressure to emulate any other event. They wanted the freedom to make this event their own.
“We used National Night Out as the format, but we didn’t want to stay within any guidelines. It definitely is the format of National Night Out,” Jones said.
“Community Night Out was an event we planned to bring the safety department — fire, EMS, and police — into the community under a non-stressful, non-intimidating atmosphere, so they could get to know each other. We wanted to bring people out for an evening in October to socialize,” Jones said.
“Especially for young people, it is important for them to get to know the safety personnel that may have to come help them out. They can look at the equipment, get to know the people — so if they ever have a need for their service, they won’t be frightened or intimidated.”
She added, this will become an annual event in the Village of Lewisburg, so the camaraderie between the departments and public can continue.
The event featured free hot dogs and refreshments, goodie bags, bounce houses, a smoke safety house, fire stickers, Mobile ICU, CareFlight, Hometown Heroes, a Pink Ribbon Girls Fire Truck, an apparatus display, and a performance by the Dayton Philharmonic Ensemble.
In addition to the agencies listed, the following contributed to Community Night Out: Lewisburg Baptist Church, Girl Scouts Troop 30060, Boy Scout Troop #511, Lewisburg Historical Society, Preble County Council on Aging, and Brown Memorial Library.
Police Chief Rick McGee was “pleasantly surprised” with the turnout for the event and was happy to interact with the public and show them that the police department is here to support the community.
“I didn’t think it would be that good of a turnout. I thought we would have a decent turnout, but it was bigger than I expected. Which was a good thing,” he said. “We want the community to know we’re here to support them, and we also want their support — which they’ve shown us when we do need stuff. We’re trying to build the community as one.
“Events like Community Night Out helps build a relationship with the public so when they do need us they can call and not be afraid to contact us. So many times they are afraid to call us about something, don’t think it is the right time, or don’t think they need to call us. We want to keep that community bond together so they know that we’re there for them.”
Chief McGee added, he would like to thank the following individuals for their help and support: Josh Meyers, Lori Pheanis, Steven Miller, Mark and Rita Madigan, Luke and Shawn Madigan, Emily Dempsey, and the Lewisburg Baptist Church.
Fire Chief BJ Sewert added, it was especially important for the Fire/EMS Department to get in front of the public, since they have a levy on the upcoming ballot.
“We are in the process of promoting a replacement levy this November. I’d be lying to you if I told you that wasn’t part of why we wanted to get people down here. Not only did we want to get people down here to promote the levy, we wanted to give them an idea why we wanted to put a replacement on, instead of a renewal levy,” he said.
“The renewal levy we had been operating off of was first initiated back around 1980 and then renewed every five years. It is no secret that things back in 1980 didn’t cost the same they cost now in 2019. We thought it was necessary to do the replacement.
“We, as a department, have tried our very best to take care of our equipment to the best of our ability to make it last. We have three pieces of equipment on display tonight. One was made in 1989, another in 1994, and one in 2000. It pretty much shows how we value that equipment and try to make it last as long as it can.”
He added, in the last several years, the Village of Lewisburg has identified safety as a priority.
“That is a pretty good reason why we have the Fire/EMS and the Police Department here tonight — to highlight safety as our priority and let everybody know we are trying our best to protect the lives and property to the best of our abilities,” Sewert said.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH