By Judy Pack

Killeen Daily Herald

You know its summertime at the Moss Rose Community Playground Center when Killeen firefighters turn on their water hoses and provide area residents with plenty of fun and good food.

Theyve been doing it for the past six years as part of the Drug Elimination Summer Kickoff in the public housing area.

Janice Taylor of the Killeen Housing Authority said the event grows more popular each year as residents take advantage of the time to visit with neighbors and watch as children play in the water.

We also use the time to provide information and resources available in the community, she said.

Local agencies distributed information, and the event helped kick off the Killeen Public Librarys summer reading program.

Firefighters hook up a pumper truck and hoses in a non-emergency scenario that fosters familiarity with the children, Taylor said. It gives residents the chance to see their public servants in a relaxed social environment.

A drug and gang awareness program has also become a part of the festivities, in addition to booths from service providers such as the Texas Cooperative Extension.

A climbing pole for beginning mountain climbers was also a popular attraction at the summer kickoff, as were the music and snow cones.

Caprice Mensah, who has lived in the area for six years, was helping volunteers distribute brochures during the afternoons festivities. She looks forward to the gathering each year, she said.

Gail Blount, a community outreach coordinator for Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, was at the gathering to promote a group for young women designed to help them stop smoking.

Our group, oriGENal, works to inform young people about breaking the chain of big tobacco, she said. We dont think smoking is sexy, it doesnt make you cool or pretty, and it doesnt make life easier or less stressful.

Taylor said another gathering is planned for early August.

Well focus on school supplies and inoculations for children before school starts.

A new library will soon be open, and Taylor is encouraging donations to provide books and furnishings for the new facility.

Contact Judy Pack at

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