Bennett Reeder’s blue eyes shone brightly and a smile crept over his face as Forsyth County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Nelson handed him his own miniature version of the badge Nelson wears every day.
The 2-year-old’s father, Dan Reeder, said the gift was one of many delights his son had enjoyed throughout the evening.
“He’s in awe of all this stuff,” Dan Reeder said. “He talks about firefighters and policemen about daily, so he’s really loving this.”
The Reeders were one of many families that came out to Target on Market Place Boulevard in Cumming on Tuesday night for the local installment of the retailer’s National Night Out.
Held at Target stores throughout the country, the event celebrates “community partnerships” by highlighting the efforts of local emergency service providers, said A.J. Seidensticker, one of the organizers.
Seidensticker said he couldn’t have been more pleased with the turnout.
“We had an absolute commitment from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, the Fire Department and Cumming Police Department, so it couldn’t be any better,” he said.
Each office and department brought vehicles and other equipment used daily, as well as many representatives, all of whom were eager to talk about their jobs with children and adults alike.
“You can watch and the people are coming over here in droves,” Seidensticker said.
“Hopefully, we can get a lot of information out and develop those partnerships. That’s what this event is all about.”
About 25 Target employees from the Market Place, Hwy. 141 and State Bridge Road locations volunteered their time to help.
Kelsey Hall, an associate at the Market Place store, said she had been looking forward to it for a while.
“I’ve worked really closely with children for a long time [as a nanny] and they hold a special place in my heart, so I’m really excited about promoting a safe community where we can allow kids to grow up without having to worry about crime and drugs and violence,” she said.
“This is a great opportunity to come out and meet our law enforcement and just show that we care.”