Marine Corps Base Quantico --
The children and parents who attended last week’s story hour at the base library got a special surprise — guest readers from the Provost Marshal Office and fire department. Drawing a larger crowd than Santa and Mrs. Claus in December, Deputy Police Chief Joseph Riley and firefighter/medics Thad Williams and James Welch took turns reading to the children and handing out goody bags filled with firefighter coloring books, crayons and other treats.
Riley, who has a degree in elementary education, read “Police: Hurrying, Helping, Saving” and at one point had all the children imitating a police car siren. Welch read “Fire Drill” and patiently answered questions from young audience members.
After the stories, library technician Kaylee Wilsher handed out toy instruments and led the children around the room in a musical parade. Riley stood to the side and high-fived the children as they marched by.
Riley said Security Battalion, which comprises PMO and the fire department, is beginning a community outreach effort on base. Police and fire representatives will attend story hour once per month in the future, and Riley said McGruff the Crime Dog and Daren the Lion will likely appear at future events.
Capt. Justin Grieco, S-3 officer for Security Battalion, said the goal of the outreach effort is to educate children about police officers and firefighters. With recent negative press about the actions of a handful of police officers, Grieco said the battalion wants to let children and families know that police officers and fire fighters are approachable, and people should go to them in an emergency.
In warmer weather, when construction outside the library is complete, the battalion would like to send over fire trucks during story hour, so the children can explore them, Grieco said. The next story hour to feature police and firefighters will take place April 21.
Head librarian Richard Freeman said story hour and other special events are posted on the library’s Facebook page and encourages people to check the site regularly for updates and information about library programs.
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