ROCK SPRINGS – While the streets of downtown were packed last weekend for the Halloween Stroll, the celebration continued for thousands of residents with other local traditions, including visits to several public service entities.
Although these agencies give all year round, the Rock Springs Fire Department, Sweetwater County Fire District No. 1 and Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County have made College Drive a must stop on All Hallows Eve.
Memorial Hospital sent families on a trick-or-treat walk which allowed visitors to see several different areas in the hospital while, of course, providing peace to other visitors there for care. This hospital has been involved in Halloween events for the community for many years.
MHSC Chief Executive Officer Gerry Klein said because of the line forming before the 5 p.m. start time, they actually opened the doors early. MHSC started with 880 coloring books which were gone by 6 p.m.
“We absolutely went over a thousand people,” Klein said.
The Rock Springs Fire Department has always been generous to the little trick-or-treaters. RSFD Chief Lyle Armstrong said they had 2,000 candy bars between the three stations and they ran out.
Sweetwater County Fire District No. 1 also gave younger visitors a little haunted house and decorations to go with the goodies. District 1 Chief Jim Wamsley said they had 1,655 youngsters. This did not include the parents accompanying them.
So why do these three public entities go to such extremes on Halloween?
Both Armstrong and Wamsley said it really gives parents a safe place to take their children.
Armstrong explained the union, Local 1499, purchases the candy bars. It allows the local firefighters to connect with youngsters and parents in the community.
For District 1, Wamsley explained, as with their staff, the goodies come from volunteers. The event gives residents a chance to interact with the members of the district department. He said the members get a chance to visit with the public on a more personal, interactive level.
Klein said it gives the community a chance to see the hospital and show residents the hospital is really a community member. Klein said they do not want to just be seen as a place to go when you are sick.
“We want to be seen as a place of celebration and education,” Klein said.
Although they are just getting cleaned up after Halloween, MHSC is preparing for their Veterans Day lunch. Klein said it is just the right thing to do.
“I’ve been here three years and it’s a great event although it’s one of the harder ones,” Klein touched on the emotion of the Veterans Day event. “Once they get telling stories and explaining how it was, it really tugs at your heart strings, but I wouldn’t miss it.”