“Every hero has a story” was the theme the Mount Airy Public Library choose for its annual summer reading program which.
Area community leaders were on hand last week for the program’s start, talking and encouraging children to become leaders within the community.
Mount Airy Police Chief Dale Watson spoke to the children and when he asked what they thought police did during their day, the responses included putting bad guys in jail and tazing people. Watson went on to describe what each officer does daily and explained that it was not all bad.
“We are here to serve and protect you guys,” he said.
Captain Allen Freeman, Corporal Ray Arnder and Officer Gerald Daniel also attended to represent the city police department.
Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson spoke as well, and told the children a short story from when he was in the fourth grade and how a fellow classmate stole all the packets of seeds given to each student, by a representative for soil conservation service they had speak at their school that day.
Years later, the classmate of Atkinson had applied for a job and put the sheriff down as reference; remembering what the young man had done many years before he did not risk his reputation to recommend him. “Every decision you make has a consequence; that may seem small to you but someone at sometime will remember that bad decision.” Atkinson wanted to encourage children to always make the best decision.
Captain Jody Seaver of the Mount Airy Fire Department spoke on the importance of the department and how it responds to fire and medical and rescue calls. Seavers explained how the Dalmatian became a mascot for all fire departments; as well as telling children two important things to have in your home; a smoke alarm and fire extinguisher. Firefighters Brad Harrell and Matthew Hutchens also were recognized.
Sergeant Jeremy Osterling represented the United States Army and briefly spoke about how deployment doesn’t make you a hero, that people within the community that they see every day such the police were also heroes. Osterling urged the children to thank all heroes every chance they could.
United States Navy Representative Lieutenant Commander Trevor Bingham was asked last minute as his family was at the library getting library cards to speak. He spoke about how even heroes have their own heroes. Bingham explained how his children and wife were so understanding of his job and they were his heroes.
A member of the Patriot Guard also spoke and explained how they escorted families to funeral services and tried to honor each leader whether it be a veteran or active military or a first responder, with the utmost respect. “Everything we do we are honored to do it,” said the representative.
Other community leaders who were involved in the day but did not speak include Shonda Burch of the Surry County Emergency Services, Fire Marshals Jason Buckeholder and Jimmy Ashburn and Mount Airy Rescue Squad Chief Nathan Webb.
The summer reading program is every Thursday afternoon beginning through July 30.
Children will get to meet superheros such as Batman this summer, as well as meet Marvel comic illustrator Jerry Decaire.
‘Susie’ the dog who inspired the movie Susies hope will also be visiting the library.
Eva Queen can be reached at (336) 415-4739 or [email protected]