OAKLAND — Hometown Heroes, an event at the Oakland City Library, started with free lunches and ended with sirens and the search for a “missing” child.

Sutherlin Police Department, Oakland Rural Fire District, Bay Cities Ambulance and Douglas County Search and Rescue came to answer questions from young readers.

Questions such as these from 8-year-old Elliott Owens: “Do the medicine in the ambulance come in flavors?” and “Does the bulletproof vest really stop a bullet?”

It turns out the medicine does not come in various flavors.

As for the bulletproof vest, Sutherlin Police Department Capt. Kurt Sorenson said, “I’ve never been shot, and we’re not going to try that, are we Elliott?”

Sorenson also answered questions about everything in his police car, from the radio to weapons to the plastic backseat.

“There are all the vehicles,” 7-year-old Jadon Cooper said was his favorite part of the event. Children climbed all over the police car, ambulance and fire trucks.

But they also made time to pet the search and rescue dogs.

Duke, who has been with SAR for about 1 1/2 years, also showed that he was able to sniff out a firearm.

With everyone lined up against a wall, handler Joel Lempke motioned Duke into action. The redbone coonhound sniffed around until he settled in front of Sorenson and barked. Meanwhile, a child had hidden away only to be found by rescue dog Kali, who has been working for more than two years.

“They always ask how we train the dogs, and we make it a game,” said Gabrielle Webster, Kali’s handler.

During the event children tried on fire suits, were strapped down in the ambulance and were handcuffed, all in the name of learning about their local heroes.

“I want to be a police officer when I grow up,” 4-year-old Maddie Joyner said. “I want to arrest the people when they are bad.”

Free lunches were provided at the start of the event and each child left with a book and a prize.

Oakland City Library will continue to have summer reading events from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. egodfrey.

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Education Reporter

Sanne Godfrey is the education reporter for The News-Review.

(1) comment


MANY years ago when I was in uniform I was walking my beat downtown when a sweet little boy walks up to me and asks, "Are you friendly?" This most likely came from his parents telling him the police are your friends. Anyway, I kneeled down, and assured him I was. With all the ugly things you see as a police officer it's moments like this that remind you why your're out there. That was over 45 yrs ago, and I never forgot it.

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