July 14, 2024
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Some years back, when John Curtis was still a Somervell County Commissioner, I recalled when I lived in Denton County, in a city which actively did NNO the way it was originally intended. The idea was to have a neighborhood event and invite the local govt, fire and ems officials and police to stop by to introduce themselves; they traveled to a LOT of places that evening. Everyone in a given neighborhood, in my case everyone on a particular block, was invited to come to a potluck and of course, neighborhoods that wanted to participate registered with the city. The one I went to was nothing tremendously fancy, there were tables with potluck and a grill for hot dogs, some music playing and the kids played in the street (street hockey was popular then; the kids would move aside when a car wanted to pass). Some others got bouncy houses or had other events, some were held in the circle at the end of a dead end street. There was a huge participation by the entire city. Why was it local to neighborhoods? Because the idea was to get to know your neighbors, partly because of security and crime avoidance. And of course, meeting the people who are public servants helping your block is more than a great idea.

Somervell County has had National Night Outs in the past. I made a compilation from several NNO’s. One from Oct 11, 2008, Oct 16, 2010 and in 2018 in my neighborhood. I’m not certain that the one in 2008 was the first one done by Somervell County. It was held in the parking lot of the Expo and what I thought was cool about it was getting to meet the police and fire and see all the vehicles. It was the equivalent of going to a car show at Fair Park. In 2020 another one was held (at least that I took pictures of) that was held downtown and featured a humongously tall ladder the Fire Dept had recently acquired. While I really enjoyed both these events, I wanted to attend one that brought back the elements of meeting and greeting with your neighbors, and decided that if that were important to me, I’d have to arrange it.

I went by the fire department to scope this out and asked Alan West as well. I said, if I was to do this, would you all be able to come by and attend? So far as I knew, I was the only one wanting to do the neighborhood NNO idea, but if there was a conflict or this part was not do-able, I’d not do it either. But there was enthusiastic support for that. I also asked my then county commissioner John Curtis. The next step was to see where to gather. We are on a dead end street but one neighbor that lived close to the end didn’t like the idea of having the gathering there in case it went past 8:00 at night (and I had no way to know if that might be the case). While discussing it with another neighbor, she kindly offered to host it at her property, which was great! I printed up some flyers and went around to each house on the street, plus a few people that adjoined the street and were part of the neighborhood to advertise the date. We had a grill and everyone brought a dish and drinks, and it was a great success.

The other day I saw someone who had been at that NNO and I actually had not seen her since then. Alan West, who had been there, suggested that maybe we should do another. I don’t know if Glen Rose in general will do one of these, might have petered out during Covid days, but I believe a stand-alone event, not paired with anything else, like Halloween, is justified, since the association between Law enforcement and fire/ems should be the top of the reason to have this event that seeks to increase the bond between citizens and them, as well as foster strength between neighbors. In fact, at one point,again not sure if this is still the case, Somervell Crimestoppers was paired with NNO.

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