Looking up in the sky, Midway Middle School students pointed at a shiny blue helicopter making it ways towards the baseball field. As the propellers began to slow down, the students peeked through the gate, waiting for permission to see it up close.
A minute later, Duke Life Flight personnel stepped off the aircraft. The crew was just a few of the people in attendance for the school’s Community Service Day.
The recent event allowed MMS students the opportunity to learn about the jobs of law enforcement, emergency personnel and other service providers. Some of the organizations included the Plain View Volunteer Fire Department, Salemburg Volunteer Fire Department, South River Electric and the North Carolina Forest Service.
Years ago, Matthew Sanders, a nurse with Duke Life Flight, was inspired to help save lives during a similar occasion in Garner.
“A Life Flight helicopter came and I knew then that’s exactly what I wanted to do,” Sanders said. “It’s good to let kids know that there’s a lot of options in health care and this one of them.”
Seventh grader Abbie Grosso enjoyed learning about the duties of personnel who were in attendance.
“I think it’s really cool getting to know what they’re doing and how they’re doing it,” Abbie said. “Some people have doubts about most of these people here.”
Organizer Robin Marley, the Fast ForWord/Success Maker at the school, was thankful for individuals such as Josh McLamb, who works as shift supervisor for the Sampson County 911 Center.
“I think they learned about things they can actually volunteer to do in the community,” Marley said referring to volunteer fire departments and rescue services.
She also believes it gives the students a sense of security by meeting the professionals and service providers.
“Heaven forbid, in a situation where they had emergency, they would be able to know that they can trust and count on those people and not be as afraid when they see them during an accident.”
Matthew Edwards, a firefighter for the Plain View Volunteer Department, showed students different parts of a fire truck, which are used to stop fires and save lives.
“A lot of people may see this truck, but it’s primarily used for wrecks and stuff like that,” Edwards said.
Like many other professionals said the event was a good opportunity to get children interested in the occupation. He began at 16 as volunteer and is now a full-time employee.
“It’s a great adrenaline rush,” Edwards said about his job as a shift supervisor.
The event was part of a character building program for both boys and girls. During the year, high school students, coaches and other community members visited the students.
“I think it’s been a great thing,” said Misty McLamb, school counselor. “I’ve seen a lot of kids gone back and asked more questions and try on the equipment. They’re engaging a lot of students.”
Brad Douglass, a school resource officer for the Midway District, has worked with students in the area for about seven years. A lot of students don’t have the opportunity to interact with Douglass on a daily basis. The event allowed the students to interact and ask more questions.
“If I can make an impact with a child by something I say or do changes they way they feel or the way that they conduct their life, I made a difference,” Douglass said. “That’s what it’s all about.”