Sixth anniversary of terror attack remembered with chief’s visit to the library

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PELHAM — Sept. 11, 2001 will be a day forever etched in our memories. On the sixth anniversary of the horrific terrorist attack on the United States, Story Time at the library featured Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark.

In a session entitled “Heroes and Helpers — the Police,” the chief not only read to the children, but also showed them around a police cruiser and motorcycle.

The youngsters greeted Roark with a card they made with the help of children’s librarian Debbie Laffond.

“You work real hard every day, to keep us safe in every way,” the card read. “That’s why we’re taking the time today to raise our hands and shout Hooray.”

Each of the kids decorated a hand cutout, glued it on the card and signed their name.

“I’m going to take this card and hang it prominently in the station,” Roark told the kids. “You can come by and see it, and when you get older, I’ll take it out and show it to you and maybe embarrass you.”

Roark started the event by reading Officer Buckle and Gloria, a book about a police officer who would travel to schools giving speeches on safety with Gloria the police dog.

What Officer Buckle didn’t know was that Gloria would do tricks to get the kids to laugh, and it worked because all of the kids actually listened to what Buckle had to say.

Roark interacted with the kids as he read the book to them and the kids laughed as they squirmed around on the floor.

When Roark was finished reading, he started the show-and-tell part of the program by pulling out his handcuffs and allowing the kids to hold them along with his hat.

When it came to his taser gun, Roark left it in his holster and told the children guns were for police only. “If any of your friends ever want to play with guns, you need to leave and tell your parents immediately,” Roark told the kids.

Then it was time to go outside so the kids could investigate the police cruiser and motorcycle.

Roark turned on the lights and sirens and allowed the kids to sit in the cruiser if they wished. Four-year-old Keegan Murphy took the opportunity to play with the siren, spotlight and car megaphone.

The kids had fun and learned many safetgy tips during their time with the chief.

Have a story idea? Gayle Simone can be reached at 978-970-4838 or by email at gsimone@thevalleydispatch.com.