Locals fellowship with first responders during 40th annual National Night Out

Published 6:09 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

CHELSEA – Local families recently enjoyed a variety of festivities and had an opportunity to fellowship with first responders during the 40th annual National Night Out.

This year’s National Night Out was held in Chelsea at Liberty Baptist Church on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

“This is the 40th anniversary of the event, and it’s a way for the community to be able to connect with the emergency services,” said Mark Puckett, a chaplain for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

During the event, there were a variety of booths set up by first responders that explained the services they bring to the county. Families also had the opportunity to explore a variety of vehicles used by local officers.

“This is a great way for young people to be able to see the different vehicles and to meet a lot of the deputies from neighboring police departments,” Puckett said. “It’s a way for them to see that they are here to be helpful, to not be intimidated by them but to know that they have people that’s there to protect them to serve them and it’s just a great way to build that relationship.”

Members of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office attended the event as well as officers from the Alabaster, Hoover and Pelham police departments. The Shelby County EMA and the Chelsea COP were in attendance as well.

“We really are firm believers in working with our communities, and this helps us keep in touch with them,” Sheriff John Samaniego said.

Alongside meeting officers, attendees were also able to enjoy a variety of food trucks and vendors.

Other organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, were represented at the event and were able to spread awareness and provide information.

“We’re just trying to get the word out about mental illness, to educate people and to help end the stigma as well as talk about the support programs that we offer,” said Cody Sumners, who represented NAMI at the event.

Cpl. John St. Pierre attended National Night Out as a representative of the Alabaster Police Department and shared his thoughts on the annual event.

“The importance of tonight is to build those partnerships with the community and to allow us to have a wonderful night out together under positive circumstances,” he said. “They get to see the equipment that we use. They meet the officers and the deputies that work the roads every single day. It’s all done to build that trust because, at the end of the day, we can’t do our jobs without our community.”