LOWVILLE — Allison LaBarge wants to extend her thanks to active duty soldiers who reside in Lewis County and their families.
That is why Ms. LaBarge has asked soldiers to attend the National Night Out opening ceremony at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11, at Lewis County Fairgrounds.
“Depending on the number of families, I would like to call them out family by family and hand them a certificate [of thanks] and possibly some local [items],” said Ms. LaBarge. “Also, I want to thank the family as a whole ... It is the family that stays home and goes on with everyday life while a soldier is deployed. That is a great commitment to Lewis County.”
The idea originally came to Ms. LaBarge after uncovering old thank-you letters from an adopted deployed Alpha Co. 2/87 third platoon.
“[They were] thanking us for sending them care packages every month for a year,” Ms. LaBarge recalled. “I knew right then that I needed to remember our troops that are still fighting overseas for our freedom, even years later. It also made me realize that their families were still at home, going on with their day-to-day lives without them, and that has truly got to be difficult.”
A student of the 2013-14 Lewis County Leadership Academy, sponsored by Lewis County Chamber of Commerce, Ms. LaBarge decided her end-of-the-year project would be to show her appreciation to the country’s bravest.
“It seemed appropriate to be a part of the nationally recognized National Night Out,” said Ms. LaBarge.
Should a soldier be unable to attend, his or her family is encouraged to participate.
“Even if the soldier is not available, deployed or off to training, I still want to honor that family at the event, even in the soldier’s absence,” said Ms. LaBarge.
National Night Out is organized by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department and Lewis County Youth Bureau.
The event, now in its third year, will be held from 6 and 8 p.m. and will include displays and demonstrations by local agencies aimed at raising crime awareness and drug prevention.
“There will be a lot to do for families, and it is free. The police department will be processing safe child ID cards, McGruff the crime prevention dog will be on site, Lewis County Search and Rescue, New York State police department, several live demonstrations and much more,” Ms. LaBarge said.
Ms. LaBarge is asking any military members in the county to reach out to her by Aug. 10 for planning purposes. Names and phone numbers may be sent by mail to Lewis County Chamber of Commerce, Attn. Project Thank-You, 7576 S. State St., Lowville N.Y. 13367, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or done by telephone at 376-2213.