Rainy night still draws crowd

The late-afternoon rain didn’t dampen the excitement of the children and families who filled the Corpus Christi campus Wednesday for the ninth annual National Night Out and Back to School Bash.

The event provided an opportunity for children and families to interact with local law enforcement and public safety agencies and allowed families who registered to pick up backpacks for their children.

Jill Walker, of Fort Dodge, said her daughter, Heaven Walker, 7, was enjoying running around and seeing all the activities and booths.

“It’s very nice that they do this for the kids,” she said. “She’s already picked up her backpack and we’re now running from stand to stand.”

She added that the rain didn’t bother her.

“I wasn’t expecting the rain, but it feels good,” she said.

Destiny Holloway, 8, of Fort Dodge, also wasn’t bothered by the rain, and gave the National Night Out and Back to School Bash “two big thumbs up.”

She was looking forward to starting school again, which she said begins for her in 14 and a half days.

“I’m excited (for) more multiplication and more music class,” Holloway said.

Mary Preston, of Fort Dodge, also said the event was important.

“It’s really helping with school supplies,” Preston said. “It’s a big help.”

Preston added that her children were enjoying the activities.

“There’s lots of fun things for them,” she said.

Kaitie Schoening, of Fort Dodge, came to the event for the first time Wednesday and didn’t really have any expectations of what was going to happen.

“It’s all good,” she said. “There’s so many good things and so much information. There’s lots of knowledge that’s been learned.”

She added that the public safety agencies provided many important resources for her and her family.

Schoening added she wasn’t bothered by the weather.

“Rain never killed anybody,” she said.

Mary Ohrtman, outreach director for Upper Des Moines University, said the weather made the crowds a little spread out but she said the event was still successful.

“It’s almost 6 and we’ve given out more than half of our backpacks,” she said.

Ohrtman said seeing the reactions of children receiving their backpacks was the best part of the night.

She described one little girl who, upon receiving her backpack, gave it a big hug and “gave a happy dance.”

“Seeing that warms my heart,” Ohrtman said.

Brooklin Border, 14, a member of the Douglas Dreamers 4-H Club, agreed.

“It’s a good feeling knowing you helped,” she said.

Border was responsible for helping get all the backpacks prepared for the children.

“We had to make sure they were all ready for the kids,” she said. “It wasn’t really stressful because I’ve done it many times before.”