National Night Out has become an Oakland Beach tradition, an occasion for community groups to spread awareness and, in many cases, provide some great entertainment. Once again, the event held Tuesday evening ended with a bang, as fireworks showered above hundreds of spectators.
But there is more to National Night Out than the show, music and free food served up by community representatives, including Rob Farrell, chair of the Warwick Democratic Committee chairman, and his loyal volunteers. It’s also an educational and, in the case of several people, a very profitable experience.
People watched as Warwick firefighters using the Jaws of Life demonstrated how they would extricate someone from a crushed vehicle at an accident scene; people had the opportunity to experience what a firefighter could encounter in the department’s smoke trailer; and members of the police K-9 demonstrated how their canine companions can sniff out drugs or bring down an assailant. And then community organizations such as the Friends of Warwick Ponds, Join Our Neighborhood and Help (JONAH) and Mentor Rhode Island manned tables where they distributed information about their work and tips such as preparing for hurricanes and floods.
As for it being a profitable evening, Kevin Elliott of the unclaimed property division of the Rhode Island Office of the General Treasurer readily searched state files to see whether visitors were entitled to receive any unclaimed property. Elliott reported Wednesday one person was entitled to $4,000 and another to more than $30,000.
Now, that’s quite a night out.
(Text and photos by John Howell)