Claps of thunder competed with a deejay’s music Tuesday at what was hoped to be the newest installment of Hillsboro’s National Night Out.
But just five minutes before the event was slated to start at the former Hillsboro High School site, the decision was made to call it off as the lightning flashed and the rains came.
“National Night Out is a gathering between law enforcement and the community,” explained Molly Bolek, an assistant with the Highland County Prosecutor’s Office. “But I guess we’ll have to regroup and make it bigger and better for next year.”
While law enforcement, emergency departments and county offices were setting up their displays and booths, the sky grew darker as a storm front moved in. Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins was optimistic the event could go on despite what the sky looked like.
“We wanted to build a rapport between law enforcement and kids, because a lot of times when law enforcement is working with kids and adults it’s on a negative basis,” Collins said.
Optimism gave way to reality when the first showers brought strong wind gusts that nearly blew over Brian Vance’s deejay tent. Vance is with the Lynchburg Area Joint Fire and Ambulance District and was set to provide the soundtrack for the evening.
While those in attendance quickly dismantled their displays, others sought shelter under the overhang of the field house where Amanda Lacey, owner of Hillsboro’s Little Caesar’s, had free pizza ready.
“It’s a shame it had to rain now of all times,” she said, unboxing pizza’s for the Hillsboro police officers that were present. “I know everybody worked real hard to put this together.”
One of the main events was going to be a dunking booth and Hillsboro Police Chief Darrin Goudy was ready to brave the waters, but braved the rains instead.
“It’s a rite of passage that new officers have to do the dunking booth,” he said, “and it’s Betsy’s turn tonight.”
He was speaking of Hillsboro Police Patrol Officer Betsy Bryant, who has been with the department since 2013, originally as a dispatcher. After completing academy training and testing, a position came open for her in June with the Hillsboro Police Department.
Hillsboro police officer Tim Bell said the event will be back next year “bigger and better.”
“We’ll do some better planning, maybe work closer with the weather man,” he laughed.
Reach Tim Colliver 937-402-2571.