This week, Jim Thorpe hosted its first National Night Out (NNO) event at Memorial Park in Jim Thorpe.
NNO opened with Jim Thorpe Mayor Michael Sofranko reading a proclamation in support of NNO.
This was the 29th Annual NNO event and Jim Thorpe's first year apart of the national event. NNO takes place in communities all over the country.
Jim Thorpe Police Chief Joseph Schatz spoke at the event and he said, "NNO is a unique crime/drug prevention event that is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. Our event here in Jim Thorpe is hosted by the Jim Thorpe Community Watch."
Schatz stated that NNO is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for local anticrime programs, strengthen community and police relationships, and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
Organizations that attended NNO and were present to speak to the community and offer information included: American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Attorney Generals Office, Blue Mountain Health, Carbon County Emergency Management, Carbon County Friends of Animals, Carbon County Sheriff's Department, Carbon County Veterans Affairs, Carbon Monroe Pike Drug & Alcohol, CERT, Citizen's Care Group, Cody Wentz Awareness, Congressman Lou Barletta's Office, Crash Dummies, Drug Free Picture Project, Forever Young, Janner Martial Arts, Jim Thorpe Community Watch, Jim Thorpe High School Color Guard, Jim Thorpe Fire Departments, Jim Thorpe Little League, Jim Thorpe Police Department, Jim Thorpe Summer Program, Bo Tkach Foundation, Juke Box Cruisers, Lehigh Valley Health Network Medevac, Lehighton Ambulance, Lehighton Area Crime Watch, Mauch Chunk Pharmacy/Purple Bracelet Program, Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, Pennsylvania State Police, Pyramid Performance Sports, Saint Joseph's CYO, State Representative Doyle Heffley, United Church of Christ, and Vector Security.
The organizations that attended NNO were non-profit organizations.
There were various guest speakers which included PA State Rep. Doyle Heffley.
Rep. Heffley spoke on the dangers of drugs, especially the dangers of misusing prescription drugs. He encouraged parents to talk with their kids about the misuse of prescriptions drugs and the effects.
He also stated that this (NNO) is a great way for the families and the community to come out together.
Jim Tkach of the Bo Tkach Foundation also spoke with the community.
He spoke about the foundation and how the foundation creates an awareness of mental health disorders while also providing mental health funds for youth without health insurance. He also spoke about how an event like NNO is a great way to get the community aware of organizations in the community.
Mike Meehan, a Prevention Supervisor of Carbon Monroe Pike Drug and Alcohol Commission also spoke at NNO.
He stated that it is important to have the community step out together and take a stand and address issues. He also stated that it's great to support anti crime and anti drug programs as well as non-profits.
Jim Thorpe High School students, Hope Damian and Natalie Seaner, coordinated a drug free pledge project for their graduation project. Damien and Seaner, 9th grade, spoke with youth about being drug free and the youth could pledge to be drug free. They would also have their pictures taken with their pledge for NNO.
The pledges pictures were displayed on the stage at NNO. Youth that signed the pledge were pledging to be drug free, to be educated about drugs and the affects of drugs, and to help educate others.
"This project is about staying drug free. We are also learning about how harmful drugs can be," stated Seaner.
Damian and Seaner learned more about the affects of drugs by speaking with police officers and anti drug speakers at school.
Damian stated, "We learned a lot from listening to other people's stories. By talking with people, we are becoming more educated about the affects of drugs."
Damian and Seaner attended NNO and were able to speak with the community about their project and about staying drug free. More people, including adults, signed pledges throughout the night. They had over 200 pledges signed for their project.
Also in attendance at NNO were the Mayor of Nesquehoning, Tony Walck, and the Mayor of Lehighton, Donald Rehrig.
Also featured was the band, ADD. ADD performed at the event throughout the evening. The band is from Lehighton.
The Lehigh Valley Health Network Medevac landed in the Jim Thorpe High School baseball field.
Also, the face painting done by the Jim Thorpe High School Flags and Majorettes was in an effort to donate the proceeds to the Jim Thorpe area D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program.
Also, tours of the police station were given and local fire trucks and ambulances were available for the community to look at.
Cindy Henning, NNO Coordinator, stated that there is a NNO committee and it is made up of residents and students from JT area schools. She thanked the committee for all their hard work.
Henning also stated, "It was nice to see families come together in support of the community. It's nice that all ages can feel welcome."
Mayor Sofranko stated, "NNO gives the community the opportunity to speak personally with troopers or anyone about these programs and it's amazing."
He added, "NNO brings a great awareness of the kinds of programs that are offered to the community."
Henning and Mayor Sofranko thanked the NNO committee, Chief Schatz, Jamie Solomon; Coordinator of the JT Community Watch, Mayor Walck and Mayor Rehrig for attending, JTASD for allowing the Medevac to land, Lehigh Valley Hospital for the Medevac, JT Police Department, JT Community Watch, and the local fire departments and ambulance companies. They also thanked the community and the organizations for attending and they thanked everyone for their support.