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Fun and cops at Wendy’s

Collin Smith

— The eagle, the fox and McGruff the Crime Dog were there.

So were 10 public service agencies, the Neighborhood Watch and families eager to treat their children to free frosties, Coors Field baseballs and junior badges.

Six-year-old Grady Anson sat inside Wendy’s eating a free frosty with a balloon tied to his wrist and coloring books spread across the table in front of him Tuesday evening, waiting for the rain to stop so he could enjoy all the activities.

“I came to see the fire trucks,” Anson said. “When I grow up, I want to be a ranger.”

The Wendy’s hosted National Night Out, a night when houses across the country are encouraged to leave their porch lights on as a symbol of standing together against crime.

This is the seventh year Craig has promoted National Night Out, and the fourth it has organized such an event. Wendy’s has hosted all four years and doesn’t plan to change anytime soon.

“It’s absolutely important for the community,” Wendy’s District Manager Karen Worth said, “just giving everybody an awareness for the resources and providing all kinds of things to learn.”

Set up across tables in the parking lot, amidst prize wheels and gift bags, were educational packets on drug awareness and how to spot a burglar. One table had a glass case with drug paraphernalia inside, so children could identify them.

Members from Craig Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, Craig Regional Communication Center, Craig Fire/Rescue, Colorado State Patrol, Colorado State Parks, Colorado Division of Wildlife, The Memorial Hospital, Advocates-Crisis Support Services and Neighborhood Watch were all on hand.

Many of those organizations’ members feel strongly about the event, saying it provides an opportunity for residents to meet them in person. They feel it is a way to show the community who they are and to hear concerns from residents.

“It offers a chance for the community to get out and meet all the different people working for this community,” Police Department Officer Aaron Bueni said. “Also, it’s a good idea for us to get out and greet all the citizens and learn what their concerns are.”

Chief Walt Vanatta brought the event from his previous post in Kemmerer, Wyo.

“I thought it was a very worthwhile program up there,” Vanatta said. “And it’s been great for this community, too. We’ve made it bigger and bigger every year.”

This was the first year The Memorial Hospital had sent representatives. Emergency medical staff set up shop next to an ambulance and gave out packages of health products.

“We just came down to show our face and let everyone know we’re here to serve and what we can do to help this community,” Emergency Medical Technician Chris Herring said.

Jessie Harmon brought her three children last year and all three again this year with her niece and nephew, too.

“It’s a great experience for the kids and teaches them a lot of important stuff,” Harmon said. “Of course, we’ll be back next year.”


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