Event promotes public awareness

Mecklenburg County’s law enforcement and emergency responders among other agencies came together to host members of the community young and old Saturday at the third annual Public Awareness Day.

Many involved agreed that especially in this day and time, with unrest, protest and riots popping up across the nation, it’s important for first responders and citizens to get to know each other.

“We are one community, and we want people to know that, especially in this day and time,” said Mecklenburg County Sheriff Bobby Hawkins.

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office organizes the event, held outside the Sheriff’s Office in Boydton and funded through the sheriff’s office’s annual fundraising golf tournament.

Many other agencies were involved on Saturday, including Virginia State Police, the South Hill Police Department, the South Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Boydton Life Station, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, the Virginia Department of Forestry, Mecklenburg County court services and victim awareness, etc.

The event was well-attended, and attendees enjoyed a petting zoo, archery demonstration for young people to try out, dunk tank, face painting, games and prizes, visits from Smokey the Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog, moonbounces, giveaways and a free hot dog lunch.

Hawkins said the event is about giving back to the community by providing a fun day for kids and parents while informing them about pertinent information and what public services are available to them.

Virginia State Police Sgt. Troy Clary said community involvement is important so that community members understand who the emergency responders are and have the opportunity to get to know them.

“Especially in a small community like Mecklenburg County, it’s easy to get to know local law enforcement,” Clary said.

Acting Mecklenburg County Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Nash was also on hand and echoed those sentiments.

“I’m happy the law enforcement and emergency responders come together to give the public the opportunity to engage with them one on one,” he said. “I think it’s extremely important for members of the community to get to know the people who are out there putting their lives on the line to protect them and the people who are standing behind the law and making sure laws are enforced properly and keeping the community safe.”

There was one heat-related issue with a woman who got too hot. Otherwise, the event was largely successful.

At the end of the day, everyone gathered for the many prizes available to those who attended to be raffled off.

Featured Photo: During Public Awareness Day, South Hill Volunteer Fire Department Lt. of Fire Prevention Brad Thomason helps Ellett Love try out some of the equipment firefighters use. (Patrick Love/South Hill Enterprise)