The Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office and the community recently came together for a National Night Out event.

Families filled the Orangeburg County Fairgrounds on Aug. 1. Free school supplies, haircuts and other goodies were offered.

Orangeburg father Robert Colter visited the event for the first time. He brought his 6-year-old son, Massiah West.

“I love it. I love the atmosphere,” Colter said.

Massiah was receiving a haircut from barber Kendall Polite, of BarberTech Academy

Coulter said, “He was dying to get his hair cut.”

Polite and other barbers gathered under a gazebo to offer free haircuts to children.

It was Polite’s first time offering complimentary haircuts at National Night Out.

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“It’s what it’s about, you know. Reach one, teach one,” he said.

Orangeburg County Deputy Johnnie Felder organized the event.

“It’s going great,” he said. “Just look at the crowd. They’re arriving in great numbers.”

The event, “is all about community,” Felder said.

The sheriff’s office distributed 400 T-shirts and 400 bags, along with what seemed like a countless amount of notebooks, pencils and so much more.

The event had about 30 vendors.

About an hour into the event, the crowd heard an S.C. Law Enforcement Division helicopter flying close by.

After a few minutes, the chopper landed on a grassy area at the fairgrounds.

Children gathered a safe distance from it, eager to walk up and see it for themselves.

Orangeburg County Deputy Sequoia Lee and his wife Kennisha Lee were there with their two children, 3-year-old daughter Sequoia and 1-year-old son Kofi.

“Both kids are enjoying it,” Kennisha Lee said.

“I know she’s enjoying it too much because she wants to get on the helicopter,” she added.

During a break in the music provided by a DJ, sheriff’s Capt. James Green spoke to the crowd.

“As our babies get ready to go back and start their educational journeys, we want to encourage them, we want to motivate them, we want to let them know most of all that we love them and support them,” he said.

“It’s going to take law enforcement and the community coming together to save our babies, to raise our babies,” he added.

“We’ve got to go back to the village. The village makes a difference and that’s what it’s all about – the village coming back together to make the village,” he said, referring to the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

“We don’t stop here,” Green said, “This is just the beginning of what the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office is getting ready to do.

“So let’s get ready to start a new year and make it a very powerful year for our young people.”

“Let’s pray for them, let’s support them and, most of all, let’s motivate them,” he said.

National Night Out is an initiative promoting police-community partnerships and neighborhood solidarity to make for safer places to live.

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