CRESTVIEW — The Crestview Police Department’s July games night for special needs adults and teens included a tasty assortment of snacks thanks to donations from local businesses, organizations and businesses.
The gifting of treats started a couple days before the July 19 event when a representative of the Crestview CEFCO convenience store dropped off several cases of bottled water.
A day later, Lindsay Huckabee, Miss Emerald Coast of Northwest Florida, dropped off a generous variety of snacks, chocolates, soft drinks and stuffed animals. The Crestview High School senior said she was inspired to help provide treats for the participants.
“I heard about the games nights and I thought I would help them out,” Lindsay said. “They’re part of my community and I wanted to help.”
Interim Chief Jamie Grant and Officer Gabe Dunlap were on hand to receive her donation, which also included some of Lindsay’s own games, including Uno and Scrabble, which were popular during the games night.
“That’s a lot of good stuff,” said Chief Grant as Community Services Officer Sam Kimmons stored the donations.
The Crestview Fire Department helped their brothers in blue welcome guests from several local social services organizations to Warriors Hall for table games, bingo, and games such as cornhole, a beanbag toss, and Toss Across. Crestview resident Phillip Massingill donated two sets of his “Quick Ten” game for the now monthly event. The wooden game board he makes, with its 10 numbered flip-down counters, can be found in some local stores. Massingill then remained to play the game with visitors, officers and firefighters.
“This program is really growing,” said games night founder Officer Wanda Hulion of the Community Services division. “It is a big success, and a hit with our guests. We welcome the generous donations of supplies and treats like we’ve received from CEFCO and Miss Emerald Coast.”
In addition, Officer Hulion said many private citizens, including members of local Community Watch programs, have given prizes and gift baskets for the bingo game, which was called by Fire Chief Tony Holland. Food donors included Crestview’s new Chic-fil-A restaurant and cookies from Girl Scout Troop 1318.
In addition to being fun, the monthly games nights have a serious purpose, Officer Hulion said. Should police or firefighters have to interact with the special needs guests in an emergency situation, the visitors will hopefully recognize the first responders, who attend the games nights in their typical work uniforms, as their friends and not be anxious.