Several hundred residents turned out Tuesday night for the annual National Night Out community building event at Helena Elementary in Timberlake.
The event featured 22 vendors including the Roxboro Police Department, Person County Sheriff’s Office, State Highway Patrol, Person County Emergency Services and other community businesses and services.
Ollie Jeffers, Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter leader for Person, Durham and Caswell counties, said this is the event’s fifth year after being held twice previously in Timberlake and twice at the Huck Sansbury Complex.
Roxboro Chief of Police David Hess said the event is a great community opportunity.
“It’s an opportunity to strengthen the bond between Personians and the community that we serve and that’s why we love National Night Out,” Hess said. “This event wouldn’t be possible without the community and the vendors and public safety people we have here. It just demonstrates the heart that we have here in Person County and the love that we have for one another.”
Hess credited Jeffers for her work to make the event possible.
“She works really hard behind the scenes to bring community partnerships together,” Hess said. “So, thank you to Ollie for her effort and the steering committee that meets four to five months ahead of time to plan this event.”
Jeffers said her experience has shaped the way she views law enforcement, but others don’t have that same experience.
“I have an appreciation for law enforcement,” Jeffers said. “I see what they do and I appreciate what they do. I just wanted our community to come together and appreciate law enforcement.”
Jeffers went to the National Night out Event in Durham for a number of years before she decided to help bring one to Person County.
Jeffers said creating trust is a huge factor.
“If a community shows they can trust law enforcement and law enforcement sees they can trust the community it will be a good thing for both parties,” Jeffers said. “It’s important to realize as a community if we come together how much we could accomplish. Wouldn’t this world be a wonderful place if we all worked together?”
Roxboro Savings Bank CEO and Executive Vice President Keith Epstein said the awareness could go even further than law enforcement.
“Its a great thing to bring the community together like this and to see all the different businesses, nonprofits and city and county services collaborating to bring awareness for all the good work that they do,” Epstein said.
Epstein said being a vendor was a way of saying thanks.
“It’s a chance for us to promote our business, but more importantly it’s a chance for us to just thank the people in the community and if they want to learn a little bit about the bank – thats great,” Epstein said. “This is a chance for people to come and have a good time and learn about the good things that are going on in this community.”
The event also featured a bounce house, potato sack races, and giveaways.
The event was sponsored by Twins Meat Market, which provided all of the food that was prepared by Smokey Dave’s BBQ.
National Night Out is an annual nationwide event held the first Tuesday in August to promote healthy a relationship between police and their community and neighborhood camaraderie. It strives to provide a positive environment to bring police and community members together. National Night Out was introduced in August, 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch.