TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
As the sun goes down over the Tyndall Base Housing Community, children put on their firefighter hats and put out a simulated blaze under the watchful eye of professional firefighters during a base community police sponsored event Oct. 3, National Night Out.
The event focused on the importance of the community and knowledge of first responder duties, and allowed military members to socialize with coworkers, friends, and family.
“The purpose of the National Night Out is to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement,” said Tech. Sgt. Jessica Soto, 325th Security Forces Squadron community police noncommissioned officer in charge. “It’s to memorialize the job we do as law enforcement and first responders. It also brings everyone together and shows any criminal or criminal activity is not tolerated in our community.”
As the event ramped up, attendees were entertained at various stations set up by local community first responders. At one station, children were able to use a fire hose to put out a simulated fire.
“We have almost every agency in Bay County here, and we also have a few from Franklin County,” said Staff Sgt. Kelsey Bauers, 325th SFS community police assistance NCO in charge. “We are focusing on the ‘one team, one fight’ mentality. This brings us all together. All of us do the same job -- just at different levels. It’s always good to have that partnership with off-base agencies.”
The event was hosted from 5 p.m. to approximately 8 p.m. to ensure the maximum number of Airmen could attend.
“The event was a free family event,” Soto said. “This allows us to show the younger generation we are not agencies to be afraid of. It’s something I want them to know, and that they should embrace us.”
Those in attendance touted the social aspect of the event and the partnership between the Tyndall AFB Housing Community and the 325th Security Forces Squadron community police.
“This [National Night Out] was fun,” said a child in attendance. “My favorite part was shooting the fire hose and giving McGruff [the Crime Dog] a high-five.”
With this year’s National Night Out concluded, the 325th SFS community police office looks forward to next year and hopes to share their message with an even bigger crowd.
“The most important thing for them to know is we are here to help them, and if they need help, they can reach out to us at any time,” Soto said. “The best way to explain what a first responder does is to get out in the community and show our people, and I think we did that in a fun way.”