Manheim’s inaugural National Night Out a hit

By on August 2, 2017

Jesse Blantz tries on a SERT team vest and helmet


Manheim Borough Police Department’s first National Night Out celebration was a successful one.

National Night Out is a community building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.

Police Chief Joe Stauffer said that he was pleased with the number of area residents that attended the event Tuesday night at the Manheim Community Pool.

“It’s a lot of work to put something like this together, but it’s rewarding to see people come out,” he said, “We’ll plan on making this an annual event.”


Penryn Fire Department’s 1927 Hahn fire truck was on display during Manheim’s National Night Out event.


Admission to the pool was free during the event. Mayor Scot Funk said that the pool is the perfect location for the event.

“It a great community asset,” he said, adding that perhaps people who came out to visit the pool for the first time may decide to come back at a later date.

Displays were set up to the side and in back of the pool. The large pavilion by the creek was used by police staff to grill and serve the hot dogs that were available free of charge. And, DJ Ben Bodnar provided music.

Attendees also had an opportunity to meet first responders. Northwest EMS had an ambulance on display, and visitors were invited to see inside the unit.


Manheim Community Library director Melissa Foltz (left) paints a butterfly on Payton Pollak’s arm during Manheim’s National Night Out event. (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)


Volunteers from Mastersonville, Penryn, and Manheim fire departments had apparatus on display. Penryn Fire Department’s 1927 Hahn fire truck was in sharp contrast to one of their current pieces of equipment.

“People like to see it (the Hahn truck),” explained firefighter John Martin. “It’s one of our first motorized pieces. We take it to parades, and since we’re a polling place, we always have it outside the fire house on Election Day.”


Manheim Borough Police Department’s Detective Aaron Szulborski (left) and Sara Lucky serve hot dogs during Manheim’s National Night Out event.


If you’ve ever wanted to take a ride in the aerial platform of a ladder truck, this was the place to do so. Both kids and adults lined up to experience the aerial platform of Manheim Fire Department’s 2001 American LaFrance 95-foot ladder truck. Jessica Smith, whose husband, Mitch, is fire department vice president, said her children have had a ride in the platform, but this was the first she had the opportunity to do so.

“It was pretty neat; it gives you a different perspective,” she said.

Manheim firefighter Mitch Smith and wife Jessica Smith prepare to ride the department’s aerial lift.


Other fun activities during National Night Out included a bean bag toss and face painting by Manheim Community Library staff. The Pennsylvania National Guard shared information about their services and provided a look inside of a Humvee. Lancaster County’s SERT (Special Emergency Response Team) display of equipment caught the eye of Jesse Blantz. As he tried on a vest and helmet, he said he wants to be a police officer when he grows up.

As he looked around at people talking with emergency responders and enjoying the games and refreshments, Stauffer said, “I think people are getting a sense of how approachable the emergency personnel who protect them really are. By learning to know some of our service personal by name, we become closer as a community.”

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at

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