Ice cream, fire trucks and boats at tri-town's 'National Night Out'

By Andrea Ray | Aug 01, 2017
Photo by: Andrea Ray Sydney St. Onge has some fun beeping the horn of the Rochester Fire Department's brush breaker.

Mattapoisett — Five-year-old Ethan Bailey could barely contain his excitement when offered the chance to use a fire hose. Pulling his mother by the hand, he edged closer to the opportunity of a lifetime.

With the help of Mattapoisett firefighter Joseph Tripp, he aimed the hose at the target several feet away and smiled widely.

Bailey was one of a line of children waiting to channel his inner firefighter at the popular attraction at the tri-town's annual National Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday.

The event, now in its fourth year in the tri-town, is part of a nationwide Night Out Against Crime campaign that began in 1984. According to National Night Out's website, the event is meant to be an "annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie."

"It's a way for kids to get to know their first responders," said Marion Police Chief Lincoln Miller.

Police officers, EMTs and firefighters from all three towns converged on the fields in front of Old Rochester Regional High School for the event, joined by the Marion Harbormaster Department (and one of the Harbormaster's boats).

Miller said he was impressed with the Night Out's turnout.

"In the past, I think there have been sports games here, and some parents would bring younger children while the older ones practiced," he explained. "But this is a good turnout."

He motioned in general to the field, where a cacophony of horns and sirens blaring could be heard. "The kids are having a great time!"

The Harbormaster's boat was a hit with children, who climbed on it to take a look around. They then investigated the row of police cars, an armored vehicle, motorcycles and four-wheelers. A line of children hopped into the Mattapoisett EMS Department's ambulance. Then, singing the ice cream song (everyone screams for a sweet treat), they headed toward an ice cream truck.

The Mattapoisett Firefighters Association passed out goodie bags and plastic fire hats, and soon, a sea of fire hats -- mostly at knee level -- dotted the fields.

Fire helmets weren't the only popular headgear at the event. Sparkly tiaras could also be found. A number of local titleholders came out to support the first responders. Sara Achorn of Rochester, the reigning Miss Plymouth County, talked with local police officers. Olivia Marques, the current Miss New Bedford, climbed into the Rochester Fire Department's brush breaker vehicle for a closer look.

Members of the Healthy Tri-Town Coalition presided over several tables.

"We're here to be helpful in any way we can," said Marion Public Health Nurse Kathy Downey. She demonstrated Marion's new lock boxes for medication storage, and offered interested visitors literature on how to store medicine and dispose of it properly. Her table offered age-appropriate literature to children to help them understand difficult-to-explain things such as drug use.

Mattapoisett Public Health Nurse Amanda Stone, at the table next to Downey, addressed a different concern: pests. She offered information on how to protect against mosquitos and ticks and handed out tick-removal kits as children ogled pest specimens on display.

For more information on National Night Out, visit www.natw.org.

Miss New Bedford Olivia Marques investigates the inside of the brush breaker. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
Hailey and Will Harding show off their matching fire hats and goodie bags. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
The Marion Harbormaster boat was a hit with kids. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
The Mattapoisett Firefighters Association handed out goodie bags and plastic firefighter helmets to eager visitors. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
Mattapoisett firefighter Joseph Tripp helps Ethan Bailey get to grips with using a fire hose. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
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