The Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce Vision XXI leadership class took the last field trip of the inaugural season July 11, visiting the Harker Heights Fire and Police departments, Stewart C. Meyer Library and Purser Park.
The goal of the class was to partner local leaders and key organizations to produce a shared vision of growing the community’s future, according to the chamber’s website. The group made monthly trips since February and graduates in August.
Fire Chief Jack Collier spoke to the class and Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Gallenstein gave a tour of the HHFD.
Collier told class members that in 2012, HHFD ran 3,336 calls.
Answering a frequently asked question, Collier said firefighters respond to non-fire calls when they’re severe enough.
“If a person is in ‘full arrest’ with a heart attack then it takes at least four or more trained personnel to deal with that situation,” he said.
The closest fire engine and ambulance responds to those kinds of calls, Collier said.
Police Chief Mike Gentry also hosted participants at the HHPD and talked about his department’s Healthy Homes Program which employs a social worker, Kerry Ann Barronette, to intervene in chaotic home environments. Barronette brokers social services by developing partnerships with all the services in the area.
“We are the only department I know of who does it that way,” Gentry said.
HHPD handled 48,865 calls last year, more than any other department in the area per capita, Gentry said.
The Vision group met for lunch at Purser Park and heard from Director of Parks and Recreation Jerry Bark and Lionel Collins, associate executive director of the Armed Services YMCA.
Bark shared about the endless benefits of the current facilities, parks and fields, athletics, adaptive sports programs, enrichment experiences, a senior recreation program and special community events.
Athletics programs have grown 64 percent since 2008, he said. Additionally, park acres expanded from 22 in 1995 to 194 acres in 2012.
“Our motto is: The benefits are endless and we can prove it,” Bark said.
Collins told the class that ASYMCA services are provided through camps, teen programs, the family center, sports, military support programs, special events, YMCA Activate America and Healthy Family Homes Initiatives.
An ASYMCA facility is planned for Purser Park, which will complement the Aquatics and Program Center in Heights.
Reference librarian Lisa Reyes led the class on a tour of the Stewart C. Meyer Library, where services and events are tailored for all ages. Library visitors can participate in crafts and expert presentations Monday-Friday.
“Many of the events are free but there are some that carry a small fee,” Reyes said.
The Vision XXI 2013 class will graduate Aug. 1 at St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church Parish Center.