Despite 90+- degree weather, organizers of the Monroe County National Night Out could not have asked for a better turnout as more than 900 people attended the event Aug.2. The event was held at Tomah Recreation Park this year due to construction at Winnebago Park, which has hosted the event in the past.
“It was a great crowd; I thought we may lose some numbers but we definitely didn’t,” said Tomah police officer Melanie Marshall, who has helped organize the event since its inception in 2003. “This is really a great combined effort with the fire departments, the ambulance service, and it’s not just the Tomah departments either, we have reps from Fort McCoy and Oakdale; lots of different organizations from throughout Monroe County,” she said. “National Night Out has been a fun event and a way to bring organizations together to share information on how to keep families safe.”
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.
Tomah Public Service Director Tim Adler said the event continues to be a great way to help educate the public on the role of emergency services in the area. “Especially in a rural area; we don’t have the fulltime employees on all the departments so we’re here – neighbors helping neighbors, communities helping communities and we all depend on each other in different agencies when that time of need comes.”
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.
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.’