• 45°

Smart Start event introduces students to law enforcement, firefighters

If you’re a kid, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing a fire truck up close.
Dozens of children from local child care centers, Head Start programs and the community did just that Wednesday morning at a Community Helpers event sponsored by Smart Start Rowan. A variety of law enforcement vehicles parked side by side in the Kmart parking lot.
The entire community was invited, explained Mary Burridge, Smart Start’s Family Support Supervisor. “Of course, our target population is children 0 to 5.”
Also getting a look at the vehicles was a large group of families from Smart Start’s Parents as Teachers and Circle of Parents family support and outreach programs.
As far as the city’s youngest residents were concerned, the fire truck arrival was the morning’s main event.
Children from Livingstone’s Head Start program waited patiently in the shade before a fire engine from Spencer Fire Department pulled up.
One excited little boy started chanting, “Fire truck! Fire truck!” and other children soon joined in.
Standing nearby, Salisbury Police Detective Russell DeSantis took it all in stride. He was driving a plain, blue unmarked car.
“They all love the fire truck,” he said, shaking his head and grinning.
Next to DeSantis was a vehicle seized by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, flashing with blue and white lights seemingly all over it.
DeSantis pronounced that vehicle as “snazzy.”
He did get some attention from Jayvion Torrence, 5, who attends the Livingstone program. The two engaged in a long conversation.
The Sheriff’s Office vehicle belonged to Deputy Jennifer Mason, a community resource officer, who was kept busy passing out stickers, coloring books and crayons — and letting little ones like Matthew Rohl, 4, sit in the driver’s seat.
“They love the car,” she said.
Dustin Tanner, a Spencer firefighter, showed off engine 751 and answered the children’s questions. And there were a lot of questions. The children were fascinated by a storage compartment on the side of the engine, as well as an oxygen tank Tanner pulled out from the vehicle’s cab.
Firefighter Todd Mitchell also answered his share of questions about the Salisbury Fire Department’s squad truck, which is used for medical calls.
The event was a multicultural event for Smart Start’s English-speaking and Spanish-speaking parent groups, said Clara Marts, who helps with coordination of Parents as Teachers and Circle of Parents.
“We’ve had lots of presentations recently,” she said, “so after so many presentations and education, we wanted to have some fun. This is a field trip for us.”
Next week, the groups will go bowling at Woodleaf Lanes, and wrap up the year June 11 with a family picnic, Marts said. “It’s been a good year.”
Margaret Velardo of Rockwell brought Bella Rose Desiato, her 4-year-old granddaughter, to meet the community helpers. She said she had read about the event in the paper but forgot to cut it out. Fortunately, she remembered the correct day and time, she said.
It was a fun event, but an event with a purpose, too.
“I wanted to have a meet-and-greet so that these children can know that law enforcement personnel are our friends,” Burridge said.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

Comments

Comments closed.

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time

News

GOP leaders differ on bottom line for state spending

News

Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in Winston-Salem

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras