CRESTVIEW — The Crestview Police Department’s monthly games nights for special-needs residents, co-hosted by firefighters from the Crestview Fire Department, are entirely supported by donations.
The next games night, which is open to special-needs teens or adults and their caregivers, is 5-7 p.m. March 21 at Warriors Hall in the Whitehurst Municipal Building, 201 Stillwell Blvd., Crestview.
Donations of bingo prizes, snacks, water or soft drinks are welcome and may be brought to the CPD in the Whitehurst Building until 4 p.m. March 21.
A core group of 20 to 25 guests from area group homes or social services, as well as individual caregivers and their clients, have enjoyed the evenings of table and floor games since June 2018.
The events are entirely supported by donations of door prizes, snacks and drinks. No taxpayer dollars have been expended on them. Many of the police officers and firefighters who take part are off duty and do so out of commitment to the community.
Others stop by Warriors Hall during a lull in their respective shifts to play games with the guests and help fulfill one of the games nights goals, which is to show special-needs residents that firefighters and police officers are their friends.
"In case they ever need to encounter them in an emergency situation, our hope is they’ll say, ‘Oh yes, I play games with them,’" Officer Wanda Hulion said.
Hulion and her partner in the Crestview Police Community Services Division, Officer Sam Kimmons, started the games nights after discussing needed services for the special-needs community with local social services organizations.