Letter to the Editor

National Night Out hits new attendance mark

Thursday, August 26, 2021

To the Editor:

The 14th-annual National Night Out event was spectacular. The weather probably was the best we’ve experienced and the attendance was well over 1,700, the largest in all our years of hosting this annual outreach.

More than 800 hot dogs were grilled and 60 pizzas were shared, along with more than 1,000 apples, additional fruit items and a glass of lemonade or cold water was available. More than 750 snow cones as usual were a hit, and the great-smelling bags of popcorn had families stopping all evening long.

One of the many highlights of the evening was the Booster Bash. Sixty-six children received a new booster seat and 21 additional families made an appointment to receive a new one in the coming days. Thankfully, 87 Putnam County children are or will soon be traveling in the proper approved booster seats.

The committee worked for several months planning and finalizing details to ensure a success. There are so many to thank, not only those that participated the night of the event, but to the many organizations that donated financially. We’re not sure you can go anywhere in the county and have an evening like this. The entire evening was free to all in attendance. Living in a community that comes together to meet the needs of our children and families is sincerely humbling.

We knew it would be an adjustment for many families with the new location and additional travel, but all four county schools happily agreed to provide transportation for families that might not have the opportunity to attend.

The partnership of Phil the Need (Tools for School) and Coats for Kids got off to a good start. More than 600 backpacks and 600 pairs of new shoes were prepared for pre-registered families, and a small coat inventory was readied for families stopping in. A grant from the Putnam County Community Foundation has provided funds to purchase coat sizes unavailable the evening of the event. We’re confident once families become adjusted to the new location and changes, they will agree this is a real plus.

Participating agencies included Putnam County Hospital, Greencastle Police Department, Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, Roachdale/Bainbridge Police, Greencastle Fire Department, Madison Township Fire Department, Teachers Credit Union, Putnam County Booster Bash, Putnam County StatFlight, Putnam County Juvenile/Adult Probation, Putnam County Community Corrections, Putnam County PIE Coalition, Dr. John Hennette, Duke Energy, Co-Alliance, Heather Taylor-State Farm Insurance, Putnam County Family Support Services, Putnam County Safe Schools, Greencastle Parks Department, Putnam County 911, Mason Hubner and 811, Cummins Behavioral Health, Ruth Myers-Tools for School, Putnam County Youth Development Commission-Coats for Kids, Boy Scouts, Mental Health America of Putnam County, First Financial Bank, Indiana Excise Police, Greencastle Kiwanis/Jim Maxwell Bicycle Rodeo, Department of Natural Resources, Mark Evans-Purdue Extension, National Guard Armory, Community Connections/Transformers, Putnam County CERT, Jack’s Trash Service, Putnam County Democratic Party, Hamilton Center, Community Partners, Cloverdale Police Department, DePauw University Police Department and DJ James Hardwick.

Volunteers and donors included Mary and Alan Zerkel, Jackie and Rick Robinson, Steve Linton, Dan McMains, Julie Chew, Loretta Maxwell and members of the Kappa Delta Phi Sorority, Beck’s Hybrids, Dan Fry Family, Putnam County Culligan Water, Kroger, Mindy Duckett, Putnam County Fair Board, Ascena Retail, Grace Fry, Clarissa Gibson, Gayle Baugh, KBSO Consulting (Rachel Davies), Butler’s LP, Big Bounce Fun House, Katie Fry and Ethan Harrison, Walmart, Bainbridge Police Department, John Garl Bikes, Kevin Girton, Sue Rylan/Putnam County Senior Center, Community Partners, Putnam County Community Foundation, Putnam County Comprehensive Services, TCU, Putnam County PIE Coalition, Duke Energy, Putnam County Hospital, Putnam County Extension Homemakers Club, Flowers Bakery, Splash Island, The Waters of Greencastle, Greencastle Parks Department, Plaza Lanes, Skyzone, Subway, McDonald’s and Putnam County Family Support Services.

Pizza donations came from Monical’s, Casey’s, Papa John’s and Chicago’s.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who worked to distribute the Tools for School, and to the Putnam County Youth Development members and Kelly Robertson at the Coats for Kids distribution. A special thanks to Renee Marsteller and her team at the producer’s building -- William Merkel, Kevin and Jenny Hutcheson, Jenny and Shannon Kessler, Cathy Westman, Margo Thomas, Angie Shea, Katie Sutherlin, Erin Sutherlin, Emily Sutherlin, Tina Sutherlin, Joyce Hutcheson, Sheila O’Brien, Natalie Pritchard, Justin Long, Patti Harmless, Theresa Parrish and Tracy White.

And we should not forget those who helped with clean-up throughout the evening: Donna Wait, Alicia Hernandez, Levi Smiley, Trevor Sanders, Devin Mulligan, Landon Davis, Brody Dunagan, Noah Kenworthy and Gary Burns.

Thanks to our committee: Kerri Keyt, Jeff Mace, Kim McMains, Patrick Cousin/Jerrod Baugh, Dwight Simmons, Debra Simmons, Carey Tanner, Rod Weinschenk, Karen Martoglio, Sarah Owen, Cindy Peterson, Lori Miller, Joyce Johnson, Renee Marsteller, Jesse Jackman, Elizabeth Butts, Ruth Myers, Frank Gardner, Sonny Stoltz, Heather Taylor, Megan Wager/Shawna Young, Lori Miller and Laura Monnett.

Thank you again for spending your evening with us, and we look forward to next year.

Linda Merkel

Tom Sutherlin

NNO Co-Chairmen