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Event focuses on fighting crime, drugs

National Night Out, a special crime event that mobilizes residents in their neighborhoods to get involved in helping rid crime with law enforcement agencies, was held at three different sites in McDuffie County last Tuesday night.

The local events drew hundreds of residents, including children of all ages in Dearing, Northview subdivision just outside Thomson and at the Thomson Housing Authority.

"It was another great turnout of residents and we sincerely appreciate it," said Deputy Barry Whitfield of the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department. Deputy Whitfield helps coordinate National Night Out every year, locally. "It was nice to see so many people turn out in these neighborhoods."

In Dearing, Mayor Sean Kelley said things went real well.

"Everybody seemed to have enjoyed themselves," said Mayor Kelley. "I served over 150 plates and didn't have to take home any leftovers, so that was good."

The mayor prepared a Low Country Boil, which included 30 pounds of sausage, 30 pounds of potatoes, 30 pounds of shrimp and 100 ears of corn.

Sheriff Logan Marshall and Major Ronnie Williamson, as well as deputies and firefighters with the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services all participated in fun and games in Dearing.

Becky Craven, a local 911 dispatcher, helped coordinate the activities in Dearing.


In the Northview subdivision, neighbors who didn't know one another before National Night Out got a chance to become acquainted.

"This is a great way for neighbors to get to know one another," said Deputy Sgt. First Class Mike Hobbs. "We need all communities coming together to help us rid crime from neighborhoods. It's important that residents in neighborhoods look out for one another."

Angela Miller, who serves as coordinator of the Neighborhood Crime Watch Program in the Northview subdivision, couldn't agree more.

"We need to get rid of crime everywhere and there's no better place to start than your own neighborhood," said Ms. Miller.

In addition to the night bringing on serious talk about crime, it also was a relaxing time, too, where youngsters could play games. Everyone also enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs and cold beverages.

"This is a great way to meet neighbors," said Felicia Hart, a local 911 dispatcher, who happens to live in the subdivision. "It's very nice."

The National Night Out program was sponsored locally by the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department.


"The National Night Out program was one of the best moments of my professional career," remarked Kelly Evans, executive director of the Thomson Housing Authority. "It was so much more than dinner and a movie. It was a great night of fellowship and community building. I had residents come out that I have never seen outside their homes. We had participants from Dearing and the Pine Street neighborhoods."

The National Night Out at the Thomson Housing Authority was co-sponsored by the City of Thomson in conjunction with the Thomson Police Department and Thomson Fire Rescue.

Other agencies with booths and literature included: Thomson BOE/middle school administrators, Thomson-McDuffie Recreation and Leisure Services, Augusta Technical College's Thomson campus, Healthy Start and Partners for Success.

"We served 1,000 hot dogs and hamburgers, which were cooked by firefighters," said Mrs. Evans. "They started prepping the food at 8 that morning. We served 30 watermelons, which were provided by the Watson-Brown Foundation."

An estimated 500 people turned out for the event there.

"We had two bouncy houses and we showed The Tooth Fairy on a 35-foot screen," added Mrs. Evans. "We served popcorn and snow-cones during the movie."

Web posted on Thursday, August 12, 2010

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