Despite nearly 90° weather, hundreds of people came out to celebrate the 20th edition of the annual Monroe County National Night Out at Recreation Park in Tomah Aug. 1.
“It was a great crowd,” said Tomah police officer/ school resource officer Melanie Marshall, who has helped organize the event since its inception in 2002. “This is a great ‘meet and greet’ event. National Night Out has been a fun event and a way to bring organizations together to share information on how to keep families safe,” said Marshall.
Introduced in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), National Night Out is a nonprofit, crime prevention organization that works in cooperation with thousands of crime watch groups and law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
More than 40 not for profit organizations displayed various exhibits featuring information on nutrition, school bus safety, weather storm spotting, parenting tips, water safety, home electricity safety and seat belt use. Marshall said over 250 children took part in the police department’s Bike Safety Expo, and received a complimentary backpack with school supplies provided by Walmart of Tomah. “We collect a lot of donations for the Bike Safety Expo and National Night Out together, we had close to 250 kids take part in the expo and I think all of them got a prize. We could not do this without all our sponsors, there are just so many community partners,” said Marshall.
A group of Monroe County organizations and agencies including Tomah Health coordinated this year’s event. “There is no way this event could take place without all the participation from law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire departments and the groups and businesses that allowed their employees to take part. Of course, our media partners and the Tomah Parks and Recreation Dept., and director Joe Protz were instrumental too,” said Tomah Health marketing & public relations director Eric Prise.
Over the past years, the Monroe County NNO has been recognized by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) for outstanding participation In ‘America’s Night Out Against Crime.’