PSJ Elementary hosts ‘Touch a Truck’ with local emergency personnel

A ladder truck, an ambulance, a police car and a Health Department trailer were all on display in the Port St. Joe Elementary School parking lot on Tuesday morning, and Gulf County emergency personnel were prepared to show a curious group of about 20 children exactly how everything worked.

The event was hosted as part of the school’s summer program. Gulf County Emergency management Director Matt Herring said the school had reached out to his office in the weeks prior to schedule the interaction.

“It’s something I used to do when I was a police chief,” Herring said. “And the school asked if for their summer program we’d be willing to do it. So, that’s why we did it, and things went great.”

At the event, students were able to explore the different trucks on display and interact with the first responders who work on them.

Each student went home with supplies from the Gulf County Health Department and some fun merchandise from Emergency Services.

“The (Health Department) gave the kids a bag of some summer goodies, including some emergency supplies that could be used if someone overheats,” said Herring. “And we gave them a bag with some fire department coloring books, crayons, that sort of thing.”

Herring said that he hopes events like this will not only increase awareness of emergency fields among the county’s young people, but will make emergency services and first responders feel more accessible to the students.

“We do a lot of those community events, especially with children just to foster a good relationship with them so that they know that all members of public safety are their friends, and we’re here to help,” he said.

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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