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NATIONAL NIGHT OUT ATTRACTS HUGE CROWD
By LINDA CANFIELD
The National Night Out has always been a popular event in Buchanan, but Tuesday August 3 topped previous years! Sgt. Harvey Burnett, chairperson of the event, was pleased with the turn out. There were representatives from the Buchanan Police Department, Berrien County Sheriff's Department, the mounted division, the hazardous waste division and from the SWAT team, Michigan State Police, SMCAS(Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service) Bertrand Township and Buchanan City Fire Department.
This night is held nationally and it's purpose is to bring together members of the community and from law enforcement to help prevent crime and drug use in the community. To create this trust and close relationship they offer programs and events like this one.
It was a family oriented evening with food, fun and games. The food was donated by many. The Seventh Day Adventist Church donated the veggie dogs, Sonny's the chicken, Tasty Chen the egg rolls, Subway's the subway sandwiches, Harding's the cake, Pizza Hut and Milano's the pizza, Coke donated water and power aid, Hilltop Restaurant donated the ice cream, Aalf's Service donated the ice, McDonald's, the syrup for the drink and Walmart donated potato chips and more water, this was in addition to the grant that the Buchanan Police Department had already received.
The chefs were Mike Burks, Pam Avila and Sweet C. Robinson. Michelle Klarich, Director of the Chamber of Commerce, was serving up the subway sandwiches. It takes a lot of team effort to make this evening as successful as it has become.
Senator Ron Jelinek, stopped by to lend his support, however, he drew the line when it came to the dunk tank! The dunk tank was delegated to the members of the police department, Harvey Burnett, Sweet c. Robinson, John Leonard and Rick Edgerlee. Harvey's son Josh was especially eager to have his dad get into the dunk tank!
Before the activities, the food was served. People come hungry. Last year they ran out of food, but thanks to the generosity of many that didn't happen this year. Chief Brian Russell held back before he got into the food line, because last year he was one of the first to eat when they ran out, and he didn't want that to happen this year. He managed to contain his appetite until everyone else got their food!
EMT Steve Nollenweg of SMCAS was talking to Chief Russell. Chief Russell introduced Steve as one of the best in the state of Michigan. However, he quickly added, that all the EMT's are the best! He was trying to be politically correct! Chief Russell wanted thanks to be given to Officer Dave Capron for supplying the grill.
After food, came the water balloon toss. "Commando" Burnett baked out orders like a drill sergeant! One thing for sure, he did get everyone's attention! After the regular balloon toss was finished, it was a free for all with Sgt. Burnett being the target. The winners of the balloon toss were Paige Spaulding and Barbara Dulin. Everyone received something to take home from the evening of fun, like "glow in the dark" necklaces, balloons, thundersticks printed with "police-community partnership" and candy.
Doug Leiter and his band, Tony Briggs and Terry Loveland provided the music with vocals by Doug's daughter, Ann Schrader. Doug and his band are a real asset to our community. They do many of these "gigs" free of charge.
During the activities of the dunk tank, Bertrand Twp. Fire Dept and Buchanan City Fire Department had a friendly spraying contest from their huge hoses. If anyone hadn't gotten wet while playing the water balloon game they really got wet with the "blasting shower".
Two deputies from the mounted division of the Berrien County Sheriff's Department, Terry Sulok and Mike Clayton had their horses there. The kids love to pet the horses. The horses had "sheriff badges on their hooves"!
Russ Stephens and Alice Kring were handing out the balloons, brochures for the Buchanan Fest and selling raffle tickets for the drawing on August 28.
The National Night Out 2004 was a tremendous success!
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