Big trucks, heroes thrill kids in Halls

Sandra ClarkHalls

Captain Jim Wright and his colleagues put on quite a show on Memorial Day weekend. The parking lot at the Knox County Sheriff’s Office North Precinct (also known as Crossroads Centre, 7328 Norris Freeway) was packed with emergency vehicles of all sorts on Saturday.

John Whited, deputy chief of the Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad, had several squad members with a fully equipped rescue truck. The exhibit drew a crowd.

Jeff Bagwell, captain and public information officer with Rural Metro Fire, had a tent and a couple of fire trucks on hand. Kids got little yellow fire hats, while their parents had a chance to learn non-contact CPR and “stop the bleed” techniques from trained professionals.

“This is EMS Week,” said Bagwell. His team had two more stops before day’s end – Market Square and West Town Mall. Knox County Fire Bureau had its “fire house” set up.

Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler and Chief Deputy Bernie Lyon were on site. Sgt. Greg Morgan, a 20-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, landed a helicopter, which he then put on display.

Rex Armstrong, whose day job is KCSO detective, was chief cook at the smoker. “We’ve got 450 hot dogs and 40 pounds of smoked bologna. Stay for lunch,” he said.

Deputy Chase Christian had his K-9 officer, Loki, at the event. Loki was carrying a rubber bone and allowing kids to touch and pet him. “He’s used to kids,” said Christian. “I’ve got two.” Loki lives with the Christian family when he’s not on duty. Officer Lucas Rader just smiled.

Little Wyatt Grecu was happy with his fire hat and Sheriff’s badge. He was with his mom. His dad, George Grecu, is a patrol officer.

Captain Wright heads up the North Precinct – a job pioneered back in the day by the late Capt. Joe Brooks. Events such as this are the heart of community policing as officers and residents get to know each other.

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