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Second annual National Night Out labeled a huge success

  • Jim Thorpe Police Chief Joseph Schatz talks about National Night Out during event held in Jim Thorpe.
    Jim Thorpe Police Chief Joseph Schatz talks about National Night Out during event held in Jim Thorpe.
Published August 08. 2013 05:04PM

On Tuesday, Jim Thorpe held its second annual National Night Out (NNO) at Memorial Park in Jim Thorpe.

Jim Thorpe's NNO mission "is to build a partnership between emergency services and the community, to empower citizens through crime prevention, drug awareness, and community service to promote an environment in which people act individually and collectively to prevent crime and drug use and build safer communities."

This years Jim Thorpe NNO was dedicated to the memory of Justin Berger, Brett Flexer, Paul Miller, and Cody Wentz.

Jim Thorpe Mayor Michael Sofranko opened NNO by thanking Emergency Services for attending the event; Cindy Henning, NNO Coordinator, and the NNO committee.

Also in attendance were Nesquehoning Mayor Tony Walck and Lehighton Mayor Donald Rehrig.

Jim Thorpe Police Chief Joseph Schatz stated, "Tonight we join many towns and cities across America in celebrating 30 years in fighting for a safer nation through participation in this crime prevention event."

He added, "NNO is committed to sending a message to criminals letting them know that towns and neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. NNO also helps to build partnerships and trust between police and community."

There were three guest speakers at the event.

The first guest speaker was, Karen Flexer, a resident of Lehighton. She spoke about the death of her son, noting that while he was at a party someone offered her son and some friends a prescription pain killer called Opana.

She said that her son made one choice and he paid the ultimate price. Flexer stressed that communities need to come together and fight against drugs, all kinds, including the misuse of prescription drugs.

The second guest speaker was Reverend Bill Thompson, a member of the Carbon County Correctional Facility Volunteer Research Committee. He spoke about drug courts.

The Carbon County Correctional Facility Volunteer Research Committee is a group that looks into reducing recidivism, the return to prison rate. One recommendation the group has is to have drug courts, for nonviolent offenders, in Carbon County.

The third guest speaker was Eileen Miller, of Scranton. She spoke about the loss of her son in a car accident. The accident was caused by a distracted driver.

Miller also spoke about how she visits schools and talks about the importance of not being distracted while driving. She emphasized that it's important to not use your phone while driving. She urged everyone to put the phone down while you are driving; it's not worth your life or another's life.

Some of the representatives and groups that were represented at NNO included: Jim Thorpe Police Department, Little Apple Area of Narcotics Anonymous, Pennsylvania State Police, Office of Attorney General, Jim Thorpe Fire Department, Penn Forest Fire Company No. 1, Nesquehoning Fire Company No. 1.

Carbon County Emergency Management Agency, Representative Doyle Heffley, Senator John Yudichak, Carbon County Special Olympics, Carbon County Friends of Animals, PA Treatment and Healing, HALOS (Hope After Loved Ones Suicide), Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, Carbon County Sheriff's Office, Carbon County Correctional Facility Research, Sherry Hoffman, reading specialist.

Dr. Lisa Bleicher, family chiropractic, Carbon County Veterans Affairs, Jim Thorpe Girls Soccer Team, Lesisko's Bargain Boutique, Distracted Driving, In Memory of Paul Miller; The Baltimore Life, Hickory Run & Lehigh Gorge State Parks, FYI Club, St. Joseph's Senior Group.

Project Purple "The Herren Project", North Central Highway Safety Network, Carbon County Environmental Education Center, Lady Olympian Basketball Boosters, Blue Mountain Health System, Jim Thorpe Community Watch, Nature's Trail, Rotary Club of Jim Thorpe, Lions Club of Jim Thorpe, St. Marks & St. John's Episcopal Church, St. Joseph's Regional Academy, St. Joseph's CYO, Jim Thorpe Band Front, and Alzheimer Awareness.

Many of these groups and other groups had booths set up throughout the park.

Two medical helicopters, MedEvac and PennSTAR, landed in the Jim Thorpe High School field. NNO guests were able to look at the helicopters.

Also present were numerous emergency Services, ambulances and fire engines.

There were food, games, face painting, arts and crafts, door prizes, and music by DJ Gasker.

There was also a free photo booth and an anti drug pledge sign up.

Schatz stated, "It's nice to see a good turnout. There is a lot of community involvement."

Mayor Sofranko remarked, "It's an honor to be mayor of Jim Thorpe. To see commitment and support like this in the community is an amazing."

He added, "There are so many children in the park tonight with their parents. It's great seeing all these families out in support."

NNO Coordinator, Cindy Henning said, "This was an awesome night and it was great seeing all of the different age groups come out for the event."

She stated that there were almost double the booths/representatives this year then last year.

"I hope that everyone got something and learned something from this event," added Henning.

Jim Thorpe's NNO is solely funded by donations to the event. This year the committee was also awarded a grant from Wal-Mart.

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