Warriors of the North support crime and fire prevention during Grand Cities Community Celebration

GRAND FORKS N.D.-- -- Warriors of the North showed they cared about keeping the local community safe by participating in the 2014 Grand Cities Community Celebration Sept. 15 at the Cliff Fido Purpur Arena here.

The celebration was sponsored by the Grand Forks Police Department, the Grand Forks Sheriff's Department, and the cities of Grand Forks, N.D., and the East Grand Forks, Minn.

The GCCC was held in place of the Red River neighboring towns' observance of National Night Out, which traditionally takes place the first Tuesday of August.

"The Grand Cities Community Celebration is just like National Night Out because it provides our communities the opportunity to come together and speak out in one unified voice against crime by promoting police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie," said Grand Forks Police Department Cpl. LaVonne Nelson, GCCC event coordinator. "The biggest difference is that we tailored the event to provide a greater focus on school-age children and teens."

Speaking of children, dozens of the young guests enjoyed watching a Military Working Dog demonstration by the K-9 section of the 319th Security Force Squadron.

"I was told many of the kids watching shouted phrases like, 'Whoa, that was cool,'" said Staff Sgt. Brett Silmon, one of the six 319th SFS dog handlers participation in the event.

Nelson expressed strong appreciation for the K-9 section and the stars of their demonstration, Military Working Dogs Arco and Zero, but the Defenders from the 319th SFS weren't the only Warriors of the North participating in the event; Grand Forks AFB's bravest were there too.

Four members from the base fire department promoted neighborhood camaraderie and public safety by passing out goodies such as refrigerator magnets, pamphlets and stickers at the free public event.

A Rapid Incident Vehicle (a smaller, lighter fire truck) was used to transport the Children's Fire Safety House, which is designed to raise awareness for fire prevention and safety by allowing guests to hunt for fire hazards in the house and practice fire escapes.

Dozens of children could be seen wearing their shiny red junior firemen hats among the dozens of booths and static displays set up by participating organization such as the University of North Dakota, U.S. Customs and Border Protection which flew in a helicopter and other community agencies such as Girl Scouts, Public Health and Head Start.

Throughout the event guests could be seen shaking the hands and heard saying thanks to those who protect and serve their respective communities.

Guests such as Grand Forks resident David Vasquez, who took his young daughter and son to the GCCC.

"I've been bringing my kids to events like this one for about five years now," said Vasquez. "I really appreciate it as a parent because it lets me know the military, the police, the schools and all these other organizations care about keeping the place where we live safe. I think more families need to come out to events like this because these are the experts and all of us especially our children can learn better ways to keep our communities safe from fires and crimes."