NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Residents of New Providence joined with the borough's police, fire and EMS workers at the community's first annual National Night Out at Centennial Park on Tuesday. The event was held in conjunction with the town’s Summer Concert Series.
New Providence joined communities across the nation to develop a better understanding of their town’s fire, rescue and law enforcement units. It is a special night for community members to stand together to promote awareness in a positive, welcoming setting. National Night Out now involves over 37.8 million people and 16,124 communities from all 40 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide.
The New Providence event featured complimentary food, music, a bounce house for the children, a loader truck provided by the Conti family and rescue vehicles. There was also a raffle for children to win a P.S. 4.
Community volunteers were an important part of the success of the event. Martha Jaynes of the New Providence Lions Club was serving hot dogs donated by the Prestige Diner. She said, “I hope that many people will enjoy the food and drinks.”
Many local families attended National Night Out. Sarah Smith brought her sons Seamus, age 8 and Finley, age 5. They looked forward to having fun, learning about their town services.
Kathryn and Ross Chapman attended with their sons Lucas, age 1 and Nicolas, age 3. They said that they were pleased to support the community.
Patrolman Michael Hand, the PBA president, organized New Providence’s National Night Out with the help of many other dedicated people. Hand has been a patrolman in New Providence for 10 years. “We want this to be a local event, an opportunity for residents to come out,” Hand said. “As always, the Downtown Business Association has stepped up to help us.”
Fire Chief Ralph Parlapiano said, “While the people in town are out, they can see what emergency services do, see our equipment, ask questions and consider volunteering for us. It is good community public relations.”
Susan DeLuise, Captain of EMS, agreed. Even though they currently have 31 active members, she said that they could always use more help. She also commented, “Often we meet the public in an emergency situation. This event gives us a chance to get to know community members on a pleasant, happy note.”
Patti Muench, the New Providence Rescue Squad president who was raised in town, said, “I think New Providence residents are really into their community. Whenever they can support their town, they are very willing. I think National Night Out is great for us.”