Crestview Mayor JB Whitten was kept hopping over the weekend as three major events — two at almost the same time — drew him from one location to the next.
10 a.m.: Food Distribution
His day began with a proclamation naming Saturday “Sam Field Day in Crestview,” honoring the coordinator of two Crestview food distributions held by the First United Methodist Church. Mr. Field died Feb. 19 of COVID-19 while in the midst of organizing Saturday’s food distribution.
On hand to receive the recognition, which was presented shortly before volunteers started loading food into recipients’ vehicles, was Mr. Field’s widow, Julie, and members of their family.
Church member and volunteer Pam Coffield, who, with her husband, Joe, helped pack more 450 parcels of food, said “everything was well organized and ran super smoothly.”
While there was an initial concern that, despite media and social media announcements, not enough recipients arrived at Spanish Trail Park to receive food, “all the food found a home,” Mrs. Coffield said. “Several people took some out into the community where they knew of a need…. Those people were ecstatic to receive them. The rest went to the Crestview Manor.”
10:30 a.m.: Skatepark groundbreaking
Mayor Whitten next hurried south to Brookmeade Drive, where he, City Manager Tim Bolduc, the City Council and officials from Eglin Federal Credit Union, including the institution’s CEO Jerry Williams, presided over the groundbreaking of Crestview’s long anticipated skatepark.
The park, largely funded through the credit union’s generosity, will be located next to the Brookmeade fire station, just up the hill from the city’s RC track, and is anticipated to open early in June.
Josh and Tiff Moen, owners of Hub City Skate, spearheaded the public/private partnership leading to the park’s creation, and were on hand to help turn some of the first shovels of dirt.
Also attending was a quartet of young skaters who had previously appeared before the City Council in support of the park. They also helped break ground on the park they eagerly anticipate using.
After the groundbreaking, Mayor Whitten visited the nearby RC track, watching the radio-controlled model vehicles zooming around the track’s loops, curves and straightaways. Track officials said the facility has been popular and is always busy.
6 p.m.: Community Unity Flashlight Walk
The estimated 300 participants in the second annual flashlight walk arrived at the City Hall south parking lot Saturday evening to the aroma of hotdogs and smoked sausage grilling and the festive sounds of a Crestview High School band brass quintet playing jazz standards.
On display in the parking lot were new Crestview Police SUVs with various theme graphics, including a Crestview history car, a military theme, Crestview Bulldogs graphics and a Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics theme.
The walk was organized by the Crestview Police Department and had participants from all walks of community life who noshed on the treats being grilled by police command staff before brandishing their flashlights to “shine a light on crime” during the 1.2-mile walk.
Returning to City Hall, blue-iced cupcakes — “cop” cakes, some said — awaited the walkers, who’d taken selfies with costumed mascots from local schools along the route up Wilson Street, over to Main Street and back.
“It was a very busy but satisfying day,” Mr. Whitten said. “There’s so much going on in our community, and we’re constantly ‘raising the bar’ on the quality and quantity of the services and activities we’re providing our citizens,” he added, employing the city’s motto for 2021.