Navy Information Operations Command, Sugar Grove, W.Va., hosted a Safety Fair on base April 22.
The fair was designed to educate local children regarding the priority of safety in many different aspects.
“We had all sorts of vendors come,” said Kathryn Morton, base safety specialist. “From the US Forest Service to local fire departments, we had a wide spectrum of professionals come to talk to the kids.”
In fact, a total 21 organizations filled the gymnasium and nearby parking lot.
The diversity of experts was tremendous, from the Harrisonburg, Va., Police Department, to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, from at-home fire and chemical safety booths to an annual favorite, the wildlife awareness demonstrations.
“Being around animals is no different from other situations, like being around other people or being in heavy traffic,” said Mark Kilby, wildlife handling expert from the Luray Zoo in Luray, Va. “The key is to always be familiar with your surroundings, and to know how to act to avoid triggering a negative response from an animal.” Kilby has made appearances at the fair for the past four years and has always brought along several live animals to show to the children.
The fair was first held 17 years ago and the target audience is local schoolchildren, primarily those in the fourth grade.
“The fair is primarily for area fourth-graders,” said Kathryn Morton, base safety specialist. Morton has coordinated the event since 2007 and said that students from Brandywine, Franklin and Northfork elementary schools attend the event each year during an annual field trip, along with area homeschooled children.
As anyone could imagine, hosting and escorting a large number of children requires the assistance of some volunteers.
“The turnout for volunteers this year was really impressive,” said Morton. “It’s important for our volunteering Sailors to be willing to interact not only with a crowd of people, but a crowd of younger kids.”
Throughout the day, 20 NIOC Sugar Grove Sailors gave their time and effort to help ensure the success of the fair, which has become a ‘staple’ event for both the base and surrounding community.
Content Steward: ITSN Jacob M. Clark, tel. 304-249-6566
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Last Modified: 27 JUN 2012
Last Reviewed: 27 JUN 2012