Eagle County residents, emergency services unite to celebrate National Night Out | VailDaily.com

Eagle County residents, emergency services unite to celebrate National Night Out

GYPSUM — Gabriel Perez was enjoying some time behind the wheel, albeit a simulated one, during the National Night Out celebration in Gypsum on Tuesday night, Aug. 7.

His driving skills left something to be desired, but then the elementary school boy has a few years before he will have to test them in real life. Trooper J. M. Bruce noted the simulator has settings for normal driving, distracted driving and impaired driving, but kids who tried the wheel were given the normal setting.

"We don't want to lead them off on the wrong foot," she said.

But when a 14-year-old took his turn, she asked if he had a cellphone, so the distracted program could offer a lesson.

A Helping Hand

Meanwhile, over at the Dunk a Deputy tank, 6-year-old Chase Chanova was trying his hardest to put Eagle County Sheriff's Deputy Aaron Velcheer in the water. Eventually, he got a little help and the deputy took a dip.

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On Tuesday, deputies with the Eagle County Sheriff's Office and police officers with the towns of Vail, Avon, Eagle and Basalt gathered with members of the community to host local observances of the annual National Night Out.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of this event, which celebrates community partnerships with law enforcement and first responders. Local families enjoyed free food, treats and activities at Freedom Park in Edwards, Triangle Park at Willits in Basalt, Vail Fire Station 2, the Aspens Community Park in Avon, O'Neal Spur Park in Wildridge, Eaglebend Apartments, Avon Elementary School and Lundgren Park in Gypsum.

National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness and to provide an opportunity to promote and celebrate police-community partnerships in crime-prevention efforts. Residents in neighborhoods throughout Eagle County and across the nation were encouraged to spend the evening outside with friends and neighbors, and several areas throughout Eagle County hosted a variety of special events such as block parties, ice cream socials, games and presentations.