The Long County Library hosted another Storytime event on Wednesday, June 29, featuring very special guest Congressman Buddy Carter, who read to the kids in attendance.
Members of the Long County Fire Department also read to the kids, as well as a representative from the Long County Forestry Unit, and children enjoyed shooting water from the hose of the firefighters’ truck.
Others in attendance included Sheriff Craig Nobles and a few of his deputies from the Long County Sheriff ’s Office.
Carter read a story called “Inky the Octopus,” which was inspired by the true story of a real octopus that escaped from the National Aquarium of New Zealand and made his way back to the ocean.
Carter said he was thrilled and humbled with the opportunity to read to the children and that he is passionate to see kids so enthusiastic about reading.
“This is the future of our country,” he said. “I enjoy this as much as anything else that I do in the district, being able to interact with students, especially young ones.”
He said he hoped the kids would take away something from the event.
“This is a great program, and reading is so important,” he said, adding that he has visited the Long County Library three or four times in the past and would return in a heartbeat.
Lt. Ronnell Houston of the Long County Fire Department read a story called “Elephant Joe, Brave Firefighter,” a book about an elephant firefighter who has to save a dragon from a tree and then put out a fire when the dragon’s flames get out of control.
Like Carter, Houston said he was honored to be a part of the day, and he said he wants to detach any kind of negative perception that kids might have when it comes to firefighters.
“We’re here to let the kids and the community see the trucks that we use every single day to respond to emergencies,” he said.
“They don’t learn not to be scared of the fire department. That’s the biggest issue we run into nowadays. A lot of kids are scared because they see us in our gear and our uniforms and they get scared.”
Houston wants children to know that they can call 911, and the Fire Department is always there for them.
Nick Crosby of the Long County Forestry Unit was also present with his truck to show the kids how it operates. Crosby’s primary job responsibility is forest protection and wildland firefighting.
“We provide forestry management services, pre-suppression plowing and prescribed burning services,” he said.
Crosby’s group operates medium to heavy crawler tractors, in addition to brush trucks and engine trucks. His unit is scattered throughout the state but comes together as a task force to fight larger fires and co-op with other agencies.
Crosby later suited up as Smokey the Bear so children could have their photos taken with the iconic fire prevention advocate.