Johnnie Mae Swagerty, executive director of South Central Kingsport Community Development and New Vision Youth, answered the following questions about the event.
What is National Night Out Against Crime?
Swagerty said it is a nationwide initiative that promotes partnerships between communities and their first responders. In Tennessee, Swagerty said, 46 cities, including Kingsport, are registered to participate in the initiative.
When and where will it be held in Kingsport?
Kingsport’s Night Out Against Crime is scheduled for Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. It will take place on the field at the V.O. Dobbins Center, located at 302 Louis St. If it rains, the event will move to the V.O. Dobbins Center gym.
What can attendees expect?
Starting at 4 p.m., community members can visit several different vendors to network and learn more about each organization. Face painting will be done by Fort Sill National Bank, and there will be free giveaways.
At 5:15, Mayor John Clark will give the National Night Out 2017 proclamation. After that, an appreciation hour will be held for policemen, firefighters and EMS personnel, during which they will receive awards for their service to the community. Members of Girls Inc., the Riverview Boys & Girls Club and New Vision Youth will also read thank you cards for the first responders.
Later that night, Swagerty said, all community members are asked to turn on their porch lights from 9:11-9:15 p.m. to show their support for policemen and other first responders.
What vendors will be present?
Swagerty said more than 25 vendors will be on hand to provide materials and assistance on housing, employment, after-school programs, medical services and other needs.
These vendors include the Kingsport Housing & Redevelopment Authority, Oasis of Kingsport, Metro PCS, Susan G. Komen of Kingsport, the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, Friends and Neighbors, Fort Sill National Bank, Life Bridges, Providence Medical Clinic, Girls Inc. and the Riverview Boys & Girls Club.
Why is the event important?
“I think it’s important for everybody to know that our policemen put their lives out there for us to keep us safe from drugs, crime and violence,” Swagerty said. “We just want the policemen, the fire department and the EMS to know that we do care about you.”
How can a business or organization become a vendor?
Swagerty said it’s not too late for a business or organization to become a vendor at the event. Those who are interested should call her at (423) 429-7553.
Kingsport’s Night Out Against Crime is sponsored by South Central Kingsport Community Development, New Vision Youth, Target and Kingsport Parks & Recreation.