Van Alstyne celebrates its law enforcement with National Night Out

| October 6, 2018 | Reply

Laney Linkugel sits in the back of a Van Alstyne patrol car, with Van Alstyne Police Officer Nathan Wilson at the wheel. It was all in fun.

Story and photos by Mary Jane Farmer. Click here to view more photos

The Van Alstyne community proved its support of Van Alstyne police, all the while having a great time at Tuesday night’s National Night Out. With the census still posted on city limit signs as 3,000 residents — and that’ll definitely increase in 2020, when the census is taken again — at least one-third of the Van Alstyne residents were in one place at the same time — The Van Alstyne Community Center for the yearly National Night Out.

It’s the National Association of Town Watch that created National Night Out in 1981, and Van Alstyne has hosted a city-wide gathering since, at least, 1996, maybe even before that. The purposes are to build community and promote police-community camaraderie to make safer and more caring places to live. With the expected population upsurge coming to Van Alstyne in the next few years, this type of event could become even more vital in reaching those goals.

Kennedy, waiting for a train — ride.

Kennedy Brock, a 4-year-old well-spoken Van Alstyne resident whose mother is a dispatcher for the police and fire departments, was one of those 1,000 attendees. She was there earlier than most, because her mother, and many other dispatchers plus police officers, firefighters, and generally kind people were the ones who set the grounds up with tables, chairs, and such.

Kennedy will be going to Samford Elementary when she gets into Pre-K next year, and she said she’s really ready for that. She scoped it all out as the bounce houses were being inflated and the Rotary Club members began grilling their hot dogs. But it was the kids train, made of metal barrels decades ago and drawn by a tractor, that Kennedy declared would be her first thing to do. She even picked out the barrel  she would ride in, a pink one, and wanted her friend to sit across from her. And when her ride is over, she said, she would “get out and let another kid get in.” And she was definitely going for a hot dog.

Many vendors had games for kids to play.

And the firefighters who took turns pulling the kids train stayed at it for the whole two hours.

The bounce houses were also a definite favorite. Shoes off, kids waited until their turn to go through tunnels, climb a rope up one side and slide down the other, then get into the more well-used version of bounce houses. Bouncing all along the way, except for the rope climbing, which wasn’t all that easy even though that inflatable bounce house had steps and was on a slant. But each kid made it. And most jumped, rather than just sat down, onto the slide. Once through, most would run to the end of the line and do it all again.

Popcorn supplied by Texas Star Bank

The free food included the Rotary Club’s hot dogs and chips, Golden Chick’s special fried chicken, popcorn from Texas Star Bank, and snacks and free water all around.

Vendors included medical facilities, CASA, realtors, churches, safety agencies, scouts, the city’s public library, government agencies — the whole range of people interested in providing the public with health and safety information. There were officers there from Howe PD, Grayson County College PD, and Sheriff Tom Watt and deputies from the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, along with some who have gone through the voluntary Sheriff’s Academy classes.

Van Alstyne Police Chief Tim Barnes said he was really gratified with the turn-out and the show of support. Barnes leads a team of officers that includes MaryAnn Jones, Jeffrey Rabb, Jonathan McInnis, Azhar Ulhaq, Jonathan Hoffman, Nathan Wilson, and Sgt. Sonia Henriques. He also has dispatchers April Culley, Shannon Haines, Amanda Brock (Kennedy’s mother), Kayla Sweet, and Rebecca Williams working with him.

When it was all over but the clean-up, which had everyone kicking in again to help with, Kennedy said it was well worth her time. As the 4-year-old sat and practiced writing the letters in her name, she declared without hesitation that the kids train was her very favorite thing, even over the hot dog! (No offense, Rotary Club.)And she even got to ride in the Mule that pulled the train, because she knew the driver, she said with a smile.

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Category: *- Features, Van Alstyne News

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