Circle of Service brings local entities together



The Crothersville Police Department, Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department and Jackson County Sheriff’s Department often find themselves at the same scenes.

They also are assisted by the Indiana State Police, StatFlight and Indiana conservation officers for certain situations, and the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency is called to assist in the event of a disaster.

Since they often work together, it made sense for them to be a part of Crothersville Elementary School’s third annual Circle of Service on Friday in the school parking lot. That way, students could learn more about what they do and how they work together.

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“My hope is that when they see them out in the community, they’ll understand what they do, why they are here for us and that it takes everybody to make our community work the way it needs to,” said Karra Lucas, a first-grade teacher who started the event three years ago.

“We need conservation officers, but we need people who work for the town and work on the water and sewage, and people need electricians to care for poles,” she said. “My hope is that they gain a better understanding of the people that are in their community, the jobs we do and how we all work together as one to make our community strong.”

In a three-hour span, classes went out to the parking lot one at a time to make their way around to the different stations.

Along with the police and fire vehicles, there was a medical helicopter, a truck pulling an airboat and a trailer that serves as a mobile office during disasters.

Other vehicles included a Crothersville Utilities backhoe, the Jackson County Public Library’s Discovery Bus, a Crothersville Community School Corp. bus, a Peak Lawn Care skidsteer and a Jackson County REMC bucket truck.

“I think the fact that so many of them are coming back shows that the community workers enjoy it,” Lucas said of entities that have been a part of the event every year.

“They enjoy being here for the kids. They say they’ve had a good time. They say they’ll come back,” she said. “It’s good for them to connect, too, and I think that’s what they were doing. They are connecting with the kids. They are talking to them about their jobs and what they do. They are here because they want to be here.”

There also were a few new vehicles and entities represented this year, Lucas said.

One of them was Jackson County EMA. Director Duane Davis said he received an invitation from Lucas to participate so he could explain what the department provides and how it operates in the county.

“I really focused on two primary things,” Davis said. “My department, what we do as a coordinating entity for disasters, making sure the right departments come together to work through the disaster to make sure that they are being taken care of. The other one is emergency preparedness. I talked about having an emergency to-go bag.”

The mobile office has supplies in it that Davis could use and would be a place to coordinate if he was set up for days or weeks after a disaster.

The emergency to-go bags could include water, food, medical supplies, ponchos, heat blankets and flashlights.

“What would you need if you had to leave your house right now to take care of yourself? I told them to use their imaginations, and I had a real good response,” Davis said. “I showed them different bags, and I told them if they can prepare for zombies, something that doesn’t exist, then you are prepared for something that does. If you’re prepared for that, then you’re prepared for anything.”

Davis said his goal is for the students to take the information they learned back to their parents and put together their own emergency to-go bags.

From an entity’s perspective, Davis said the event was beneficial for him, too.

“It’s good for us to get together and just see what each department has and what they actually can bring to the table,” he said.

Fifth-grader Shyla Steele said she liked listening to Paige Bush with Peak Lawn Care talk about the equipment used in her job. That included the skidsteer.

“I like how she’s encouraging, that she said, ‘Don’t let other kids tell you that you can’t work on this job,'” she said.

Her twin sister, Shaylie Steele, liked standing in the Jackson County REMC bucket.

“I like how it has all of the materials in it,” she said of the lineman equipment being inside the bucket.

Classmate Triston Tatlock said he’s not sure what type of job he wants someday, but Circle of Service allowed him and other students to learn about various occupations.

“It just gives them energy to show them what people do for the world,” he said. “It shows what other people’s jobs are, like police officers help the community.”

The students agreed Circle of Service is a good event for the school.

“Other schools don’t get to experience this, but our school does, and it’s cool,” Shyla said.

“I really think it’s cool how we get to learn about each different one,” Shaylie said of the entities and vehicles.

“I suggest other schools should do this, too, if they don’t do it because it shows the kids what they should go for,” Triston said.

Lucas said each year, she has received positive feedback about the event from students, teachers and the participants, and that motivates her to keep it going.

“They say they want to come back and be here for the kids to learn more about what they do,” she said. “Hopefully, we get some new ones in the future, too, to add to the ones that have been coming and continue to grow every year.”

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