National Night Out brings Outer Banks communities together

By on August 8, 2018

A big crowd was part of the taping of the KDH Police Department’s lip synch challenge video. (KDHPD)

Nags Head Station 16’s fire truck was a hit.(Russ Lay)

Police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, helicopters, with lights flashing, air horns honking, and rotors turning is always a spectacle that attracts crowds of young and old alike.

Add booths from community organizations, free hamburgers, and hot dogs, and the usual crop of elected officials and eager office-seekers pressing the flesh and you have all the ingredients for a mini-fair and a successful community event.

Aug. 7 marked the National Night Out event for police and first responder departments across the country.

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Dare County had three departments participate; Nags Head, Manteo, and Kill Devil Hills.

Russ Lay visited Nags Head National Night Out, which was held at the Ark Church, while Sam Walker was at the Kill Devil Hills Night Out at Lowe’s.

Watching Dare MedFlight’s helicopter land in a grassy field behind the church was quite a sight, and shortly after the 5 p.m. start time, the Ark Church lot was filled and cars overflowed onto Villa Dunes Drive.

Dare MedFlight’s helicopter was probably the biggest attraction

We were first attracted to the helicopter and Chad Jones, director of operations and chief pilot of Dare MedFlight offered to fire up the cockpit panel for us and turn on the rotors for a slow rotation.

The control panel looks just like a video game and one could easily be tempted into thinking flying this aircraft would take just as easy to master as a virtual chopper on our computer screens.

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Kids swarmed the chopper and adults were overheard more than once referencing their weight or latest blood tests and quipping about their hopes of not being Jones’ next passenger.

The fire truck was also a big hit as Dare firefighters hoisted youngsters into the driver’s seat and occasionally let a youthful occupant sound the air horn.

The Dare MedFlight cockpit panel looks like something out of a video game. It’s completely digital. (Russ Lay)

Nags Head’s K-9 unit was also on hand to demonstrate the skills of these four-legged officers.

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Police cars and ambulances were also open for visitors to enter and peruse.

If you haven’t seen the inside of a modern-day ambulance (and hopefully you haven’t!) these behemoths are a far cry from the basic transportation units many of us remember from the 1970s and 1980s.

Community organizations were well represented as were residents of another galaxy far, far away (Russ Lay)

Police, fire and EMS crews were present to explain to children and adults their duties and how the equipment they use functions and is employed by the first responders.

Inside the Ark Church, the Town provided hot dogs and burgers and they were going fast.

Burgers, hot dogs and all the fixings brought it the crowds later during the event. (Russ Lay)

The gym area of the church was set up for community groups and other organizations with booths and tables.

Dare Hotline, N.C. State Highway Patrol, Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, the Outer Banks Repeater Association (which works with first responders during natural disasters and other emergencies) were just a few of the groups with people on hand to meet and greet the public and inform them of their role in the community.

Of course, all such events draw elected officials as well as office seekers, and while we were there, Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon and Commissioner Susie Walters were on hand, as well as Dare County Commissioner Rob Ross, who is running unopposed for the District 2 seat this year.

Political candidates also showed up, with Rep. Bob Steinberg a Republican now seeking the state Senate District 1 seat) joined by Currituck Board of Commissioners Chairman Bobby Hanig, who is seeking the state House District 6 seat, and Anne Petera, the GOP candidate for the Dare BOC At-Large seat.

If you missed this year’s event in your town, make sure you attend the 2019 National Night Out.

Not only is it a good way for adults and youth to interact with police and other first responders, it also affords an excellent opportunity to meet your neighbors and other residents in a world where often we are too busy to meet our fellow citizens.

Kill Devil Hills Police get community involved in lip sync challenge

Many of the activities in Nags Head were mirrored at the Kill Devil Hills Police Department Nightout in the Lowe’s parking lot.

Kids of all ages had a chance to work off the free hot dogs and drinks in a bounce house, or climb around the Jolly Roger’s portable pirate ship.

The American Red Cross conducted a blood drive, The Outer Banks Hospital provided free blood pressure checks, while the Outer Banks SPCA offered rabies shots for the furry family members at just $5.

Outer Banks Hotline, DARE Casa, Boy Scouts of America, N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, U.S. Coast Guard Auxilary and other local organizations also took part, while Jody O’Donnell of Beach 104 was there to broadcast live.

Dare MedFlight made an appearance at the Kill Devil Hills event. Just landing behind the Lowe’s garden center was enough of a magnet for young and and old alike to see the chopper.

The highlight of the event was recording of the department’s lip synch challenge video.

Coordinated by Sgt. J.C. Towler, members of the police and fire departments, ocean rescue, Dare County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies were joined by many of the event’s attendees for a unique take on the latest viral video across social media.

Multiple camera angles, include a drone, were used in the recording session of the video that will feature Dolly Parton’s version of “Put A Little Love In Your Heart,” and a bonus track that we’ll leave as a surprise for now.

The finished video is expected to drop sometime next week.

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