Police and firefighters honored by children in summer school program in Belmont
By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
BELMONT — It was a special day for police and firefighters in the Belmont area Thursday as children from the summer school program treated them to songs, pizza and special banners made for them.
After a blessing by Father Rick of the St. Joseph Parish, first responders joined with children aged 4 to 10 and helped them color and engaged them in discussion.
Although he couldn't stay long, Belmont K-9 Vito visited with his handler Evan Boulanger just long enough to say hello. Vito and Boulanger told the children that Belmont's National Night Out will be on Mill Street on Aug. 2 and they were all invited.
Belmont Elementary School Principal Sheila Arnold said there are about 60 children in the summer school program from pre-kindergarten to fourth grade.
She said the students had about a week to work on their posters and letters and the thing they wanted the first responders to know was "We like them."
Lt. Rich Mann said the Belmont Police already have a significant presence in the school. There are two school resource officers, one of whom is full-time and the second of whom works 30 hours a week. He said officers also frequently visit all the schools and read to the younger ones.
"It's fun for us and fun for them," said Mann.
As for the celebration, he said he was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support for them and the town's firefighters.
"These kids gave up a day of their summer to do this for us," he said.
Belmont police and firefighters were also joined by police from Gilford, Gilmanton and Canterbury.
"This is so wonderful," said Gilford Detective Denise Parker. "Any interaction we can have with a child is good. And the earlier we meet them, the better. This means a lot to us."
The Belmont Police Department will display a poster made by the children in the department that says, "Not all heroes wear capes."
Children from the Belmont area shared pizza and conversation Thursday as the summer school program thanked first responders for their service. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)
Children sang "Ten Little Firefighters" at the lunch honoring first responders. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)
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