Pasadena first responders use National Night Out to strengthen community bonds

Isabella Blackwood, age 4, Owen Dellinger, 5, Basil Hobbs, 4, and his sister Idalia Hobbs, 2, inside an ambulance with EMT volunteer Bill Flinter during National Night Out Aug. 7 at the Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company.
Isabella Blackwood, age 4, Owen Dellinger, 5, Basil Hobbs, 4, and his sister Idalia Hobbs, 2, inside an ambulance with EMT volunteer Bill Flinter during National Night Out Aug. 7 at the Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company. (Atalie Payne / Correspondent)

Four years ago, when Anne Arundel County's Eastern District Police Station in Pasadena hosted its first National Night Out, the station hoped it would help improve the community's rapport with law enforcement officials.

"I think (the event is) a really friendly, nice way for the community and police to get together and have a nice night," said Eastern District Capt. Ken Arbaugh. Although he believes a healthy community-police relationship was already established in Pasadena, he says these events have been successful in fostering that bond.


Roughly 2,000 community members attended Eastern District's National Night Out event held Aug. 7 at Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company despite a brief rain storm.

The event offered a variety of activities including K9 police demonstrations, specialized police and fire rescue vehicles, local business vendors, free food and drinks, giveaways, live music, and games.


Eastern District adopted the national event hoping to connect with the community, forging friendships with people of all ages, especially children.

Bill Flinter and Kyle Rocke volunteered during the event with a basic unit ambulance. As volunteer EMT's at Earleigh Heights VFC, they spent time talking to children about their jobs.

Four-year-old Isabella Blackwood came to the event with her grandmother, Mabry Davis. She climbed into the ambulance and sat on the gurney. Davis says her granddaughter is interested in firefighters and police officers. Flinter answered Isabella's questions about supplies in the ambulance.

Flinter said he enjoys volunteering during these types of events because of the "great interaction with the community."

New to the area, National Night Out was Rocke's first; he became a volunteer EMT six months ago. He attended the event to meet people in the community while "giving back."

"It's good to get out and meet people where you live,” Rocke said.

Children also crowded around "Chase Shepherd," a remote-controlled animatronics dog riding inside a child-sized roving police cruiser.

Cpl. Stanley Newborn operated the vehicle's remote control as Cpl. Dominic Scali spoke to children through a microphone 20 or 30 feet away.

The robotic dog has been used by Anne Arundel County Police for almost a year. Scali said "Chase Shepherd" attends community events to interact with children and be the "friend they've never had."

Abagail Knapp, age 8, dragged her mother over to see the motorized dog asking it how she could get her father to stop driving with one hand. "Chase Shepherd" replied, "bring him over here, I'll talk to him."

Arbaugh says the new machine is popular in the community.

"Everybody loves Shepherd," he said.


During the event, Pasadena residents Bertha Saghy and her son, Fred, volunteered in the Anne Arundel Alarmers Association mobile unit. Complete with a working kitchen, the unit is dispatched to disasters throughout Maryland.

The mobile unit helps volunteers provide drinks and meals to firefighters and police responding to disasters such as flooding in Ellicott City, a deadly seven-alarm fire in Clarksville and the Baltimore riots.

As president of the association, Bertha began volunteering with the organization 21 years ago determined to "help the public." Fred started helping the group about 20 years ago by fixing the truck when mechanical issues arose. He volunteers up to nine hours every day at the association based in Ferndale.

By bringing the unit to local events, volunteers hope to connect with the community and encourage them to volunteer with the Anne Arundel Alarmers Association.

Eastern District's Lt. Fred Crosse agreed with Arbaugh's perception of improving community relations due to these free, family friendly events. He said he notices a difference when attending community meetings.

During meetings, "we are constantly seeing people coming up and thanking us," he said.

Police officers often see people at their worst moments, however, these events provide an opportunity for police to be seen in a different light.

Motioning to the crowd, Crosse said, "these people get to see us in a more human element."

For more information about the Anne Arundel Alarmers Association, call the station at 410-766-4221.

PSG meeting

Pasadena Sportfishing Group will meet at Earleigh Heights VFC, 161 Ritchie Hwy., Aug. 14. Doors open at 6 p.m. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. Meetings are free and open to the public, kids are welcome.

Guest speaker, Lenny Rudow, will discuss ocean fishing and the White Marlin Tournament.

For more information, visit www.pasadenasportfishing.com.

Free grief workshop

Chesapeake Life Center will offer “Living with Loss,” a free workshop 6-8 p.m. Aug. 15, at Hospice of the Chesapeake’s John & Cathy Belcher Campus, 90 Ritchie Highway.

The informational session will help participants explore the grief process, review coping strategies and discover ways to find comfort and growth through this difficult time.

A light dinner will be served. Pre-registration is requested as space is limited. To register or for details, call 1-888-501-7077 or visit https://www.hospicechesapeake.org/event/living-with-loss-free-grief-workshop.

Class reunion

Northeast and Chesapeake High Schools will hold their 40th reunion, open to classes through 1981, noon-4:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at Kurtz’s Beach, 2070 Kurtz Ave.

Tickets are $35 and include a BBQ picnic lunch, dessert, draft beer and DJ.

Make checks payable to Marian Ditch — Class of 1978 and mail to 16 Margaret Ave., Pasadena, MD 21122 by Aug. 24.

For more information or tickets contact Ditch at 410-255-6549 or email marian051260@verizon.net; Kim Ward at Kimmi416@aol.com; Kelley Fohs Murphy at murphykelley35@gmail.com or Deb Hutson at 410-255-2509 or Debhutson@yahoo.com.

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