Residents said they enjoyed the event, which grows bigger each year.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
NEW MIDDLETOWN -- There were lots of lights and sirens Tuesday evening in downtown New Middletown but all for a good cause.
Police, emergency medical service and fire units from the village, Springfield Township and the surrounding areas led the parade for the village's annual National Night Out, a community crime-prevention observance.
Rappelling firefighters, a medical helicopter landing by Stat Medvac, food, games, music, a magic show and other offerings were part of the community celebration at Welker Park.
Police Sgt. Ken Goist, New Middletown's police community coordinator, said the event has grown each year and is designed to increase awareness of crime prevention, generate support for local anti-crime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and the police-community partnership, and let criminals know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
Residents said they enjoyed the event.
"This is a great time for everyone," said Circleview Drive resident Debbie Williams. "The whole community comes together, and it's wonderful for the kids."
Jake Kempton, 14 months, watched his first parade with mom Teri Kempton and grandpa Rick Timcisko of Main Street. Teri recently moved to Pittsburgh, but she brought Jake back for the family celebration.
"I was surprised to see all the different fire departments in the parade," she said. "This is a small community, and there are people here from everywhere."
Timcisko said he has lived on Main Street since the early 1970s and still feels safe. "It was nothing to see a tractor driving down Main Street back then," he said. "This is a nice event, and most everything is free. They can do this in small towns."
Youngstown Metro Technical Rescue Operations Team demonstrated rope rescue techniques by rappelling off the 151-foot village water tower.
Barry Finley of Youngstown Fire Department is commander of the unit made up of firefighters from YFD and surrounding departments. He said the firefighters in the unit train for specialty rescues such as towers, and high- and low-angle situations such as rappelling down embankments to rescue vehicle crash victims.
John Lightly of YFD and Chad Manchester of Beaver Township Fire Department demonstrated a rescue that involved switching a victim from one rope to another about halfway down the tower.
Lightly said he wanted to do the training because he found it interesting, and he's not afraid of heights. He and Manchester said they like to belong to a special team that performs rescues not everyone can do.
Other members are Jamie Goodlet, Paul Lutton and Tim Frease of YFD and Bob Baron of Bazetta Township. Finley said the team was interviewing four new potential members who watched the demonstration.
Goist said National Night Out, celebrated in more than 10,000 communities, is the nation's largest annual crime-prevention event and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and co-sponsored locally by the New Middletown Police Department.
Youngstown's National Night Out observance was at Homestead Park on East Dewey Avenue on the South Side.