Return of Helena’s National Night Out a major success

Published 10:25 am Friday, August 5, 2022

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By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer 

HELENA – The parking lot of Helena High School was packed with members of the community on Tuesday evening, Aug. 2 for the annual National Night Out event. 

National Night Out began as an initiative to engage the community with first responders, such as police officers and the fire department, in a fun, family-friendly environment. The event offered several entertaining areas such as a bounce house for kids, local food trucks and even John Deere rides for kids through a pylon cone obstacle course.

Families walked around the parking lot enjoying local food, supporting local vendors such as By George and taking photos with the Chick-Fil-A cow and the lovely Helena Belles. Over by the football field, car enthusiasts brought out their vintage rides for people to admire and peruse in a special National Night Out car show. The highlight of the evening was the take-off of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department helicopter.

Mayor Brian Puckett said this year’s event was the largest one yet.

“From the classic cars and jeeps to the vendors, along with police and fire leading the way offered everyone so much to see and experience,” Puckett said. “What started as a small event to promote the community partnership with our police department has morphed into an event where law enforcement and our first responders encounter the smiling faces and laughter of members of our community.”

Puckett said National Night Out deepens connections within the community and offered praise and thanks to Officer Jeff Murphy, who organized the event.

“Every city wishes that they could have a Community Engagement Officer like we have with Officer Murphy, but he could never be duplicated,” he said.

Puckett was not the only city leader to praise the success of the event.

“I’m so thankful to live in a community that appreciates and supports their first responders,” Council member Leigh Hulsey said. “Thank you those who donated to Putting First Responders First 501(c)(3). We hope your children had a blast on the inflatables that were graciously donated by Big Time Bounce, LLC.”

Police Chief Brad Flynn said he was thrilled at the huge turnout for the event’s return.

“Getting to meet so many people and let them get to know us was simply awesome,” Flynn said. “Our Community Outreach Officer Jeff Murphy surpassed the great event last year and gets every bit of the credit for its success. Thanks to him, HPD’s National Night Out has set the standard for others to try to meet, and I absolutely love that.”