Center Park at Centerville was filled with every day heroes Saturday when the city held the first official function at its still-under-development park complex.
Amenities were scarce, but wide open spaces plentiful and were filled with first responders and personnel from Robins Air Force Base, all who brought along their vehicles and equipment.
The event, called Every Day Heroes and Safe Kids Day, was organized by Centerville Fire Chief Jason Jones and Police Chief Chuck Hadden, who invited members of Houston County’s emergency medical service and base personnel to join in as well.
Jones coordinates the Safe Kids Houston County program that also played a part in the day.
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“The idea was to combine an opportunity for our departments to meet with the public and also give families a chance to enjoy the park while learning about safety,” Jones said. “Accidents are the No. 1 cause of death among children. Safe Kids is a collaboration of different agencies and organizations in the county working to eradicate injuries.”
Jones said fire departments, law enforcement agencies, health agencies and other groups are part of the county’s Safe Kids, which is part of a larger national effort.
He said all areas of child safety are a concern of the group from car seat safety to accidental poisoning to water safety.
“We have a lot of information that’s always available to the public but we put it together with interactive activities for the park,” Jones said. “Like one activity is about pedestrian safety and shows texting and distractions are dangerous even while walking. We use a lot of little games like that.”
In addition, Jones said the event offered a rare opportunity to climb around fire trucks, police vehicles, ambulances and Humvees — safely.
Hadden, a long-time Centerville police officer but new to the chief role, said the event was an opportunity for him and his officers to meet and talk with residents.
“It’s a great way to interact with kids and adults in a fun way,” he said. “We want to show them the cool equipment we have and vehicles we get to drive, but even more we want to let people know we’re here for them and eager to help out however we can. It’s great to take advantage of the park and we’ll plan more events like this to bring our community together.”
Kate Hogan is the city’s director of marketing and economic development and leads park development. She said she was glad to see the park’s first official event was about the city’s first responders, families and kids.
“It’s just the sort of thing we want happening, along with a whole lot more,” she said. “Incredible demos, giveaways and the opportunity to gather as a community for some fun and a good cause.”
Jones agreed it was good use of the park for such activities and said he was glad to be part of bring residents to the property.
“It’s exciting to be part of what’s happening here and seeing people get excited about what the park can be for Centerville and all of Middle Georgia,” he said.
The park is located at 103 East Church St. to the northeast of the East Church Street and North Houston Lake Boulevard intersection.
The next scheduled activity at Center Park at Centerville is a Popcorn in the Park event April 22 and after that there is a Food Truck event on May 5. Those and activities such as a Centerville farmers market will continue through the summer along with the city’s Independence Day celebration June 29.