Today marks the start of Marietta's 36th annual Safetytown.
Over the years, more than 7,000 youngsters in our community have learned the basics of safety whether it's crossing a street, riding a bicycle or tricycle, or having fun in the backyard or neighborhood playground.
Safetytown covers it all and Marietta is so lucky to have this program. It's nine days full of education and quality time with local law enforcement, fire and safety personnel.
You'll notice Marietta's Safetytown is named in honor of civic leader Samuel R. Cook, who - along with Marietta physician Gene Plummer -secured the backing that inspired an entire community to get behind Safetytown to help educate children just becoming school age. Through the years, Cook kept the project under his wing, nurturing it into a true success story.
Today, Cheryl Cook, wife of the late Sam Cook, and his daughter, Colleen, are carrying on the Safetytown tradition. Scores of others pitch in to help teach children. Many of today's volunteers attended Safetytown as children and are sending their children.
For example, registered nurse Jonni Tucker, with the Marietta Health Department, will teach as children's first-aid and car and bicycle safety. Tucker also will help fit each participant with a bicycle helmet that is his or hers to keep. Tucker is a Safetytown graduate and volunteered as a teenager. When Tucker's daughter was old enough, she also attended Safetytown.
Today's organizers remain quick to point out the importance of Safetytown's volunteers. Volunteers are a vital part of the program over the entire 36-year run.
As always, the safety training program remains free to participants. The program, which costs around $12,000 annually, is mostly funded through a Safetytown trust comprised of donations.
Congratulations to everyone involved. We should all be glad Marietta has the Samuel R. Cook Safetytown program, which has gone on to inspire similar programs in communities around Marietta.