Maryland State Police, with a little help from their Mount Airy friends and neighbors, will remind residents Tuesday that crime prevention begins at home.
The troopers' official launch of the 1995 National Night Out will begin at 6 p.m. in the heart of Mount Airy's historic business district at the Municipal Parking Lot on Park Avenue.
The public is encouraged to attend the free crime prevention extravaganza, which will include law enforcement displays, a citizens' march and an indoor rally at American Legion Gold Star Post 191.
The event will begin with a law enforcement display from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the town parking lot, state police spokesman Lt. Greg Shipley said.
The display will feature the state police "seat belt convincer"; all-terrain vehicles; police dogs including a bloodhound and "McGruff"; and patrol, command and SWAT vehicles accompanied by the officers who use them. The popular crash dummies, "Vince and Larry," may also make a guest appearance.
The citizens' march begins at 7 p.m., and everyone is invited to join the 1.6-mile procession that will progress from the parking lot to Cross Street, Center Street, Main Street and to Prospect Road. After a brief detour from Prospect Road through the Village East subdivision, the march returns to Prospect Road and concludes at Post 191.
The law enforcement display will continue in the American Legion parking lot, where a state police MedEvac helicopter will land.
A rally in Post 191's air-conditioned banquet hall after the march will feature State Police Superintendent David B. Mitchell and Mount Airy Mayor Gerald Johnson. Other elected officials have been invited to attend the rally, which is expected to last about 30 minutes.
After the rally, light refreshments will be served to the crowd by American Legion volunteers. The event will conclude about 8:30 p.m.
The purpose of National Night Out is to promote crime prevention, said Lieutenant Shipley. Traditionally, the event encourages people to sit outside, to turn their porch lights on, to get to know their neighbors, to look out for each other and to get involved in their communities.
Mount Airy was selected by Superintendent Mitchell as the state kick-off site for the 1995 National Night Out because the town "exemplifies the relationship the Maryland State Police would like to have with communities across Maryland," Lieutenant Shipley said.
The town, which is recognized for its diversity and commitment to fighting crime and drugs, has a "good working relationship" with five resident troopers and great involvement by its citizens, he said.
"We want to make Mount Airy an example for other communities to follow," the lieutenant said.
A 17-year-old Linganore High School senior came to the rescue of the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company July 21.
Kelly Seetoo threw a lifeline to the organization's Miss Fire Prevention Contest when she called Assistant Chief Gene Mellin to inquire about entering the competition, which was set for the first night of the fire company's carnival July 24. Lack of interest canceled the contest last year, and organizers feared the same fate for the 1995 event.
Kelly said her mother learned of the contest last week from a co-worker at Farmers and Mechanics National Bank in Mount Airy. Kelly was chosen to represent the fire company as Mount Airy's Miss Fire Prevention after completing an application and interview. She was crowned on stage at the carnival Monday evening and gave a speech about what she thought fire prevention meant.
"It's not just knowing how to prevent fires, but teaching others and promoting fire safety," she said.
The 1995 Miss Mount Airy Fire Prevention took home $150 in prizes and a bouquet of red roses and white carnations. Wearing her silver and rhinestone tiara and sash over a purple gown, Kelly fulfilled one of her first official duties as she rode a fire truck in Thursday's Mount Airy Fire Company Parade.
Her reign will be filled with opportunities to represent the fire company and to promote fire prevention. She also will have the opportunity to earn credits for the community service portion of Maryland's high school graduation requirements. She will keep her tiara and sash as souvenirs of her one-year term.
Kelly is a soccer enthusiast who plays both striker and halfback positions on two teams -- Linganore High School and Washington Area Girls' Soccer. At Linganore High, she is also a member of the pompom squad and the National Honor Society.
During the last school year, Kelly was a member of the Country Line Dancing Club and Prom Committee. She is very interested in attending Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and plans to major in business administration.
She has one brother, Joe, and lives with her parents, Julie and Bill Seetoo, on the Frederick County side of Mount Airy.
Kelly said she has lived in Mount Airy her "whole life" and thought it would be "neat" to represent the fire company, when she was asked why she stepped forward for the contest. "I just thought it would be a great experience," she said.
Congratulations to the new officers of the Mount Airy Lions Club who took their oath of office at the 1995-1996 Installation Night on July 11 at American Legion Post 191.
Joseph Roemer will lead the club as president for the coming year, with the help of: Robert Disinger, first vice president; Barry O'Neill, second vice president; Patricia Walsh, third vice president; Richard Clower, secretary; Dennis Ahalt, treasurer; Clyde Gibson, tail twister; Ed Parenteau, lion tamer; G. Robert Shaw and George Harne, second-year directors; Martha Paisie and Russell Ray, first-year directors; Eileen Disinger, membership chairwoman; Jay Fulmer, immediate past president; and Rose Ann Parenteau, assistant secretary.
For information about the Mount Airy Lions Club, call (301) 829-LION.