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National Night Out fosters community partnerships with local law enforcement

Seven-year-old Sophia Poghossian-Roswell sang the National Anthem to start festivities for the first ever National Night Out for the communities of Campton, Thornton and Waterville Valley. Standing at attention as she sang was Waterville Valley Police Chief David Noyes. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
August 08, 2018
THORNTON Aug. 7 was the 35th annual National Night Out, designed to draw communities closer to their local public safety officials, and this year, the communities of Thornton, Campton and Waterville Valley decided it was time to join in the fun.

The first ever Campton-Thornton-Waterville Night Out event was most likely a night many families will never forget.

Thornton's new Police Chief, Ken Miller, first proposed the idea of a National Night out event and his suggestion was met with hearty approval from his fellow law enforcement and fire/rescue partners.

"It was definitely something I've seen over the years in other communities and I thought we should bring something like this here," Miller said.

Working together, officials from Thornton, Campton and Waterville Valley began their plan for a community gathering that Miller said "morphed" into something much bigger.

"It all started with a few vendors who wanted to participate, then some sponsors jumped onboard and it just grew from there," said Miller. "I did it because I felt this was a good way to build partnerships with the communities and for people to not only get to know us as police officers but for us to get to know them better, too, on a whole different level."

Some late afternoon rain dampened the opening of the event but the sun soon came out and activities got into full swing at the Sugar Shack Campground in Thornton on Tuesday.

Seven-year-old Sophia Poghossian-Roswell of Waterville Valley Elementary School led things off by singing the National Anthem. From there, Waterville's Chief of Police David Noyes acted as emcee for the event, announcing the start of fun activities like the Foam Slip and Slide that was set out on a gentle hillside, a "Foam Room" filled with more foamy bubbles created by the Waterville Valley Fire Department, and many live demonstrations.

There was a visit from several friendly characters like Smokey the Bear, Sparky the Fire Dog and even Elroy the Elk, who joined the local Elks Club's booth, which provided safety information for families.

There were large bubbles twirled across the fields for children to chase, plenty of fun games, an obstacle course, glitter tattoos and an amazing balloon artist. The more daring boys and girls headed for the climbing wall and bungee jump while many others also lined up for their turn at the police Dunk Booth. As if that wasn't enough fun, there was a classic car show and live music that kept everyone smiling as they strolled from one activity to another.

A demonstration by the New Hampshire State Police K9 unit, a car cutting demo from the fire departments, a Fatal Vision Driving Course, Bicycle Rodeo and so much more gave everyone an opportunity to not only have fun but learn more safety tips as well. Other participants from safety and law enforcement agencies were Campton-Thornton Fire/Rescue, Waterville Valley Fire Department, New Hampshire National Guard, the U.S. Forest Service and New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Making the night complete were volunteers who prepared free hamburgers, hot dogs and chips, ice cream from Coneheads of Woodstock, and cold drinks from Del's Lemonade.

"This was a real win-win event for all of us, and the plan is to make it an annual event," Miller said.

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