LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The grand opening of an emergency center in Lufkin was used to promote positive relationships between law enforcement and East Texas children.
The Altus ER "Touch-a-Truck" event gave kids the chance to meet and learn first-hand about the jobs of first responders.
"We need stuff like this, not just when bad things happen, but all the time," said Sergeant Brandon Lovell, with the Diboll Police Department. "We need to educate our children, we need to educate the public."
It was an event aimed to let kids have a little fun, but for first responders, this was an opportunity to connect with East Texas children in a way they don't normally get to.
"You want them to see you as a person, and see that you are there for them and that you would do anything in the world for them," Sgt. Lovell said.
They stressed the importance of making children aware of the duties and responsibilities of first responders, in hopes of making for better future generations.
"These children are our future, and they need to know that there are people that love, support, and care for them in anything they do," Lufkin Marine Corps League Commandant Brian Crews said.
"We picked this profession because we want to make our communities better," Sgt. Lovell said. "Any chance we get to do something like what we're doing today- is a plus for us."
With military grade vehicles along with EMS ambulances, fire trucks and police units, the event was a learning experience for children who have never seen equipment like this before.
"It gives them the chance to see what the military is all about and the equipment that keeps our country safe," Crews said.
The children enjoyed not only sitting in the police cruiser and monster truck, but they left appreciating the sacrifices made by each officer and first responder.
"I have never experienced something like this, to get to actually talk to them and understand the difference they make in this world as well as the changes is really cool," one young attendant said.
Touch-a-Truck might have been the name of the event, but all who attended agreed it was their local law enforcement that touched their hearts by their effort and attendance.
"It only takes one small child to come up and say thank you to make this effort all worth it," Crews said.