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Community Comes Together For A 'National Night Out'

Bob Barrett

There were rappers and dancers and dozens of community organizations on display Tuesday evening as Legion Field hosted an event for the 29th annual National Night Out. Officials were walking around the park, mingling with the crowd. Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said the positive atmosphere at the park reminded him of simpler times. "We had these events in neighborhoods. It was Sunday in the park and people would get together and picnic. They were almost unplanned events." Morgan says now people live in neighborhoods for years and don't know who lives next door to them. He said "what these events do is they almost take you back in time."

On this night neighbors were interacting with each other as well as the various agencies and organizations on display. Police dogs and horses got a lot of attention from young people and the Kona Ice truck did big business. There were also free school supplies being distributed. Cory Brown was handing out school clothes and supplies at the 90 Works table and talking to people about the services the non-profit offers.

90 Works, of course is the home of the navigators for the Affordable Care Act in our region. Cammy Woods from Cantonment was one of the first who got health insurance for her family with their help. She said the process took just a few minutes and now she pays 15 dollars a month for health insurance for her and her three children 90 works was giving out information about Florida Kids Care and other health insurance options during the event.

Across the field there was a different kind of recruiting going on. Keith Lowe, a volunteer with the Gulf Coast Counsel of the Boy Scouts of America, was trying to "wrangle some new Cub Scounts (and) Boy Scouts in". He says scouting is thriving in the region and spreading even further. "Scouting is world wide", he says.

As the evening went on parents and students mingled with the police and elected officials who were available at the field. There were several National Night Out events all around the Pensacola area Tuesday evening. The events were sponsored by the Pensacola Police, the Escambia County Sherriff department, the Community Drug and Alcohol Council, City of Pensacola Parks and Recreation, and Target. 

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.