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National Night Out shines after wet start

August 15, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Austintown National Night Out, held on Tuesday (Aug. 7) was a big success in spite of a wet start at Township Park. Residents came out and enjoyed the evening with Austintown area safety forces.

National Night Out is an event that has been growing since its conception in 1984. For Austintown, it grew out of a neighborhood watch program that was under the direction of Shawne Wilfong and June Galbraith. Those two women headed up the Wickcliffe Block Watch group.

"Detectiv Jeff Toth came to our block watch party and told us about the National Night Out," said Wilfong. "Six years later and here we are."

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier

Austintown's National Night Out (NNO) wouldn't have been possible without the assistance of the Fitch National Honor Society. Pictured is Austintown NNO coordinator Shawne Wilfong with Fitch National Honor Society seniors Blake Kusky, Tori Cappuzzello, Amber Sierra, Faith Marscio, Brittany Christmas, Kaitlyn McComb, and Jessica Bellish. The seniors lent a hand wherever needed to ensure a great event for Austintown residents.

While Wilfong doesn't keep exact numbers for those attending, she did say the event draws a couple thousand residents and children.

The event brings police and fire departments together with residents in a fun-filled community atmosphere. Kids can learn about police and fire vehicles while officers and fire fighters socialize with residents.

Wilfong said this is the first year for a national vender to become part of the Austintown NNO. Dietz and Watson Deli meats donated hot dogs for the event and donated some funds for the safety forces. The Philadelphia-based company presented a check for $2,500 to the Austintown Fire Department. The funds were raised through a special promotion.

According to a press release from the company, Deitz and Watson partnered with Giant Eagle stores from June 7 through Aug. 1. Every pound of deli meat or cheese purchased at Giant Eagle during the period saw a donation committed to the group chosen by the local store, which this year was Austintown Fire Department.

For Wilfong, the request to be part of the Austintown NNO was unexpected.

"We have NNO events in Youngstown and Columbiana and a bunch more, yet they chose our event," she said.

She asked the company how they decided whose event to support, she was told that estimated numbers along with feedback helped in that decision.

"Number of people and positive responses are why they chose us," she said. "This is our first year with a major corporate sponsor."

She did thank the large number of vendors and businesses that helped out, such as Molnar's concessions, Austintown Home Depot and Sport Clips. Home Depot brought a variety of fun wood project kits that children could choose and built at the event. The kits included a bird house, pencil case, bookends, periscopes and toy trucks.

Also on hand were a variety of police and fire vehicles, including the Ohio Highway Patrol and a SWAT team. The Green Team was also represented.

The event started with a heavy rain shower, but it was short-lived and didn't stop a decent crowd of Austintown residents from coming out for National Night Out.



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