Freeport firefighter Kenny Madera moved the hot dogs to the cool side of the grill once they were nicely browned and covered in grill marks on Aug. 7, during the 35th anniversary of National Night Out at Cow Meadow Park. Freeporters lined up to grab the dogs, while children played soccer or tennis.
National Night Out, celebrated in communities across the country, is a time when residents can meet with police and fire officials to get to know them better. “This is an opportunity to create police and community fellowship,” Mayor Robert Kennedy said of the event, which was attended by several South Shore elected leaders. “I’m proud to say that the Police Department does a lot of work in our community to develop a relationship with our citizens.”
Several clubs and organizations, including Friends of Freeport, the Police Athletic League and the Chamber of Commerce, set up booths, along with health providers like Northwell Health, at the park’s entrance. The nonprofit food bank Long Island Cares handed out bags of food, fresh fruit and information about food pantries.
Leydi Sanchez, 16, Kristy Cruz, 16, and Sarah Mejia, 16, all Freeport High School juniors and members of the Navy Junior Reserved Officers Training Corps, spoke of the importance of community unity.
“I don’t know if I’ll join the military or become a police officer after high school,” Sanchez said. “But to see everyone come together for our officers is great. They help and protect us, and we need to support them.”
Freeport firefighter Del Hardwick and tennis instructor Jada Pollock played a tennis match against FFD Hose Company No. 5 Capt. Nate Arthur.
“[National] Night Out is like a community-wide adopt-a-cop,” Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé, of Freeport, said. “It’s a chance for the community and the law enforcement community to converse and come to understandings with hopes of it carrying out into the community throughout the year.”