Celebrating National Night Out

FRANKLIN. Four towns host event with games, music and a close-up look at an emergency helicopter.

| 07 Aug 2023 | 07:13

Residents and first-responders mingled at a National Night Out celebration Tuesday,. Aug. 1 in Franklin.

“It is a great morale booster and a great way to show support and meet the residents,” said Franklin Borough Police Chief Greg Cugliari.

This was the third time that the borough has observed National Night Out, which was introduced in 1984 to improve the relationship between citizens and law enforcement.

Franklin held National Night Out events in 2019 and 2022. This year, the event also was hosted by Hardyston, Hamburg and Ogdensburg.

It was coordinated by Tamara Contreras of the Center for Prevention & Counseling in Newton who is coordinator of the Wallkill Valley Community Coalition. Assisting were the Franklin Recreation Committee, the four police departments and the coalition, which works for a drug-free community.

Contreras said the event this year was the biggest one so far.

There were games for children, food trucks and live entertainment.

An Atlantic Health System helicopter landed, and residents lined up to take photos in front of it.

Franklin Borough Police Capt. Seamus Geddis sat in a dunk tank, giving people a chance to send him into the water.

Various organizations provided resources. Among them were the Recreation Committee, Wallkill Valley Community Coalition, Mental Health Association, Sussex County Skylands Ride, Brain Injury Alliance and Ginnie’s House. There also were tables for businesses: the Painted Grape, which offered face-painting; Gym Guyz; and Flooring Coverings International.

Contreras said she tried to find organizations that people would not see at other events.

TJ’s Pizza presented the Center for Prevention & Counseling with a $600 check, and R Wireless presented a $1,100 check to the Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery (C.L.E.A.R.), a drug-addition program administered by the center.

About 50 students from the Wallkill Valley and Vernon community coalitions wore tie-dyed T-shirts at the event. The coalition teaches middle and high school students social and emotional skills and organizes community service activities and field trips for them.

Entertainment was provided by DJ Aldo Sanchez and the Franklin Band. Little Miss Franklin Mia Sanchez, whose father was the DJ, sang the National Anthem, and Jeffrey Korger, a recently retired borough police officer, played the bagpipes.