Circling around the parking lot behind Crothersville Elementary School, preschoolers through fifth-graders learned more about the people and vehicles that serve their community.
The Crothersville Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police had various types of vehicles on display.
The Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department showed off its tanker and a rescue truck and also pulled out some tools of the trade for the kids to see.
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Jackson County Emergency Medical Services opened the doors to one of its ambulances so the children could do a walk-through.
A student from each classroom was selected to stand inside the bucket of one of Jackson County REMC’s trucks.
The students also walked through a Crothersville school bus, looked at books inside the Jackson County Public Library’s Discovery Bus and spun a prize wheel, climbed up into the town’s backhoe and honked the horn, checked out Radio 96.3 WJAA’s Cool Bus while music played and walked up and down the back of one of Howard’s Garage and Wrecker Service’s wreckers.
The school’s first Circle of Service event was chalked up as a success.
“I’m pleased with everyone that showed up. It’s a good turnout. I’m glad to see a lot of them here,” said Karra Lucas, a first-grade teacher at the school and organizer of the event.
“Now, the kids, when they are out in the community or about the county, they see them, they will recognize them and know what they do,” she said. “They are valuable members of our society, and we need them for all of the services they do.”
A couple of years ago, while teaching preschool, Lucas said she thought about doing a similar type of event to fulfill the hours required for the school being involved in On My Way Pre-K.
Fire and police vehicles and ambulances visit the school during the year for educational purposes, so she and her instructional aide thought it would be good to invite all of them to come on one day. That, however, never came to fruition.
This year, her aide brought it up again, and Lucas made sure it happened.
“It was kind of intended for preschool and just getting them involved in meeting community helpers at one time and maybe meeting others that they don’t normally get to see,” she said.
“We thought this is a good opportunity to open it up to more people to come, and then it was like, ‘Well, let’s just invite the whole school,’” Lucas said. “She’s like, ‘That sounds good,’ and everybody was on board with it.”
During Friday’s event, Lucas and the other teachers saw a lot of smiles from the students.
“I think it has been a good thing,” Lucas said. “The kids seem to be enjoying it. That makes me happy.”
First-graders Mason Muncy and Emma Strong both said they were excited about the firetrucks because their fathers either have served or currently are on the fire department.
“I was really excited to see my dad,” Mason said.
He said he also liked seeing the police department’s Humvee, while Emma said she liked checking out the Discovery Bus.
“I liked that it had those books that I like,” she said.
Mason said Circle of Service also was an opportunity to see his friends and get pictures taken with them in front of the different vehicles.
Emma thought it was a good event, too.
“It was so much fun, and I loved it so much,” she said with a big smile.
For the participants, the event was just as much fun.
Lynn Howard said he liked seeing the kids get excited about walking on the flatbed of his wrecker.
“Just seeing the kids, the enjoyment they get out of it, to me, that’s the main thing,” he said. “I just enjoy it because of the kids, whatever we can do to help the kids.”
Howard also had experience around several of the other vehicles. He drives a school bus, is retired from the fire department and has been in a backhoe and a bucket truck.
He, however, has never driven the Discovery Bus.
“It could be my retirement job,” Howard said, smiling.
Travis Mull, a 20-year lineman with Jackson County REMC, said the company participates in outreach events when asked and if manpower is available.
He said he did a safety program a couple of years ago at a school in Seymour.
Any time he is around kids, Mull said he enjoys answering their questions about his job or the bucket truck.
“They are just curious about how tall it will go, how high up I can go,” he said, noting it’s about 40 feet.
“It moves around a lot when you get up there,” he said, smiling. “It depends how hard the wind is blowing. It will blow you around a little bit.”
Students also ask how linemen can grab a power line without getting hurt, and they ask about the gear required to do the job.
“We can talk to them about you have to have special gear on if you’re going to touch power lines,” Mull said. “Every year, we hear about kids who get into power lines and grab a hold of a downed wire. We can incorporate that into our discussion here, too.”
Events like Circle of Service also introduce kids to possible careers they may not have thought about, Mull said.
“There are so many possibilities for them,” he said. “Expose them to as much stuff as you can early on and let them decide what they want to do.”
Mull said he hopes Crothersville continues to conduct the event. Jackson County REMC would participate again, he said.
“Absolutely. We will be glad to do it,” he said. “It’s a good deal they put together here.”
Lucas said the plan is to do Circle of Service again.
“If the teachers are on board with it and we think we can get everybody to come back next year, yeah,” she said. “If not, maybe it will just be every couple of years or something. We’ll see what happens, but we’ll definitely be doing it again.”