community takes a closer look at utility agencies | Local News

EFFINGHAM – Beautiful weather drew large crowds to Evergreen Hollow Park on Wednesday evening for the Effingham Fall Community Celebration, hosted by the Effingham Police Department.

Police vehicles, fire engines, ambulances and helicopters were among the attractions offered at the event, giving visitors the opportunity to view and, in some cases, sit in a first responder vehicle .

Tents have been set up by each of the participating agencies including the EPD, Effingham Fire Department, Effingham Dive Rescue Team, City of Effingham, RuralMed, ARCH Air Medical Service and Air Evac Lifeteam. Anyone interested in learning more about first responder services in Effingham could wander from tent to tent to find out what they offer.

ARCH 3 Air Medical Service pilot John Wilson flew his helicopter to land at one of the ball diamonds in Hollow Park. The children patiently stood aside as the helicopter crew shut down the helicopter engine and prepared the helicopter for visitors.

A few minutes later, an Air Evac Lifeteam medical helicopter arrived and landed in the same ball field parallel to the ARCH 3 helicopter.

A curious visitor lined up at the door of each plane waiting for a chance to explore the plane’s interior.

“I really like the helicopter,” said 4-year-old Harper Meyer.

He and his friends, Finley Workman, 4, and Fletcher Workman, 7, visited the Effingham Dive Rescue Team during their visit to the Community Celebration.

Jim Denton, one of the lead divers on the dive team, shares some of the adventures and experiences he has enjoyed diving underwater.

Samantha Casselman from Effingham brought her mother Ady, daughter Ellie and son Nick to the event. Nick was given the opportunity to sit in a medical helicopter after the family took a few minutes to explore two fire engines and tour the Effingham Fire Department tent. Effingham Fire Chief Brant Yochum was available to answer any questions from visitors.

“I just want to support the community,” said Samantha Casselman. “It’s a beautiful evening. Why not?”

Casselman held her daughter in her arms as she picked up a plastic fire helmet for her son.

“Another reason I’m here is to show my mum what Effingham has to offer,” she said. “My mother is from India.”

Effingham City Police Department Chief Jason McFarland took care of the food preparation in the Effingham Police Department tent.

“The turnout is phenomenal,” said Chief McFarland. “This is our fourth year.”

McFarland said last year was the first year they added utility organizations, including the Effingham Fire Department, air medical helicopters and ambulance services.

“Initially it was just a police function,” he said. “It gives the city a chance to show off what we have and gives the community an opportunity to meet first responders in person.”

He said the celebration gives visitors an opportunity to learn more about the services provided by public service organizations.

“Kids love helicopters and heavy equipment,” McFarland said.

Alejandro L. Myatt