Two Butler County communities observed National Night Out on Tuesday.
In Cranberry Township, emergency calls canceled the parade of trucks.
Rain fell on those visiting the Butler Township Fire Station on Sparks Avenue, but many, like Kristy Zinkhann and her son, River, found comfort inside the building.
“We just came out of the rain to see the fire trucks. (River) likes all kinds of vehicles,” Zinkhann said. “I think it's a very nice thing they do. It lets the community see who is there to help them.”
River walked past the trucks, pointing at different parts and symbols and asking a lot of questions.
River also met Butler Township Volunteer Fire District Assistant Chief Dave Bestwick, who gave him a helmet and a coloring book.
National Night Out is an annual event held by police departments in communities across the nation. It aims to promote partnerships between residents and police and firefighters.
Bestwick said interacting with the community is a great way to talk about their role in the community.
He said he also was thankful for the township allowing him to promote the department at its station and its need for volunteers.
There are just not enough people volunteering anymore, Bestwick said. “There are so many other things people can do to help other than running into a burning building,” he said.
Resident Bill King said it was nice to have a lot of authorities in one place.
“I told them what's been going on,” he said.
Butler Township Police Chief John Hays said the event not only offers a place for officers and firefighters to answer the public's questions, but also gives the two departments a chance to mingle.
“It's nice to have everybody together,” Hays said. “I see these guys going in the trucks. I don't get to spend a lot of time with them.”
Cranberry's Night Out
With 17 food vendors, fire trucks and police cars from Cranberry, Adams Township and the Evans City/Seven Fields Regional Police Department, and county water rescue and emergency services unit vehicles, Night Out in Cranberry had plenty of opportunities for kids to snack and play in trucks.
Mark Ciorra of Cranberry said his son, Geno, is a fan of emergency vehicles and was excited to see them. “He was definitely pumped to see everybody out here,” Ciorra said.
Rick Dowd sees the event as a chance for him and his son, Luca, to get to know their neighbors — though they only found out about the event when they went shopping.
“This gets the kids involved, and community relationships are a plus,” the Cranberry man said.
If not for the effort of local volunteers, this event likely wouldn't have happened.
Nicholas Palmer, local coordinator, said the township had lacked the festivity for several years until he and others revived it.
“It's definitely an event we want to keep going,” he added.