Night Out Block Parties held in Copperas Cove
By BRITTANY FHOLER
For the 39th year, neighbors locked their doors and mingled outside as part of a nationwide initiative called National Night Out on Tuesday evening.
In Copperas Cove, five neighborhoods hosted their own block parties and enjoyed good food, good company and good weather, as the temperatures cooled down a bit.
National Night Out was started in 1984 in Pennsylvania, with the purpose of community building and promoting police-community partnerships.
The first annual National Night Out involved 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 different states, according to the National Night Out website.
Over at Robertson Avenue Baptist Church, at 305 E. Robertson Avenue, people of all ages gathered for fun and food. Outside, kids played frisbee with members of the Copperas Cove Police Department and the Law Enforcement Explorers Program, while inside, more people chowed down on hot dogs and hamburgers, with beans, potato salad, macaroni salad and more.
This year marks the sixth year that Robertson Avenue Baptist Church has participated in National Night Out, according to Cecil Burrows, who is a church member and the event organizer.
Burrows pointed out groups of people playing outside who weren’t members of the church but who had heard about the event and decided to stop by,
“This is all about bringing our community together,” Burrows said. “That’s what National Night Out is all about. We bring the community together. We bring them here. We got games, we’ve got food, we’ve got music. I mean, that’s what it’s about. We want to bring people here, see what we’re all about.”
Burrows said that this is one of the church’s three bigger outdoor events that they hold for the community, the others being 4th of July and Easter. At any of these events, the church is going to make 1sure that first responders are fed, Burrows added.
“We support our first responders, period,” he said. “Our first responders are always fed. That’s part of what we do…We got to take care of them because they take care of us.”
Over on Isabelle Drive, Monty, of Monty’s Steaks, Brews and BBQ, and his wife, Angie, mingled with their neighbors. Monty prepared and served brisket, while other neighbors each brought a side dish or other dish.
“It’s like we’re having a family potluck in our street,” Angie said.
Angie said that she hadn’t participated in National Night Out prior to this year, but after hearing about what National Night Out is about, they decided to get together with their neighbors and learn who lives around them.
Over on Circle Drive, Sabrina Francis and her neighbors gather in a circle of chairs in her front yard. Right as it turned to dusk, members of the Copperas Cove Fire Department showed up in an ambulance, which the children had the opportunity to explore the inside of. Francis took picture after picture of her grandkids as they learned about the ambulance. Francis said that she participated in National Night Out for the first time last year with a block party at her house. Francis and her neighbors have all lived in their neighborhood for a long time, she said. Getting to meet each other and talk allowed for them to make a note of the other people in their neighborhood.
“There’s so many people out there that just are trying to scam you or rob you or whatever, so it’s so important for you to pay attention to your neighborhood,” Francis said about the significance of meeting one’s neighbor.