Flora Mae Johnson’s National Night Out always began the morning of.
“She’d start sitting out in her chair, at lunchtime if it wasn’t too hot, and she’d just wait for us to get off work,” Lisa Frazier says. “She just loved it.”
Johnson died in April at age 84, and her old neighbors will honor her Tuesday night, Oct. 3, as they host another NNO Block Party in her name on Ridgecrest.
“She loved to have the Night Out party. That was her thing. No matter what … we had to have the party and she had to help,” Frazier said, fondly. “We always had to call her ‘the mayor of the Ridge.’ She always knew everything that was going on in everybody’s life.
“Since she passed away, we decided we were going to do it, and we were going to do it in memory of her.”
As of press time Friday, Kilgore has 13 National Night Out events on tap next week, most running 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3, including 11 neighborhood parties spread throughout the community and two church events.
Locations include 501 Leach St., #5 Rim Road, 420 Highland, 2604 Ridgecrest, 601 Beckley, 501 Higginbotham Rd., 2411 Ivy St., 630 Town Oaks, Boone Street (between Andrews and Kay Street), 3105 Mimosa Lane and 3403 Rockbrook in addition to New Hope Baptist Church (3529 CR 292 E.) and Danville Methodist Church (2095 Danville Rd.).
Find a complete list of parties, hosts and addresses at KilgoreNewsHerald.com. For an interactive map of 2017’s parties, visit tinyurl.com/KilgoreNNO2017.
Ridgecrest is a relatively short street, Frazier said, and the block party planners make an effort to invite residents on surrounding streets as well.
“We kind of encompass all that,” she added. “We’re a pretty close-knit neighborhood anyway. We pretty much know anybody that’s in the neighborhood. If we don’t, we get to know them.”
Johnson had an impact in that regard as well.
Years ago, “I started renting my house before I was able to buy it,” Frazier said. Johnson had been her fifth-grade teacher and after welcoming the former student to the neighborhood, “She just took my kids under her wing,” as well as all the other youngsters on the street.
In addition to encouraging a tight-knit community, Frazier appreciates National Night Out’s primary goal: bringing neighbors together with their local law enforcement personnel and other first responders.
“The police officers always come around, they tell us what’s going on,” she said.
Frazier and her husband, Milton, have participated in both the KPD Citizens Police Academy and the Kilgore Fire Department’s Citizens Fire Academy. They encourage their numbers to get acquainted with the police officers and firefighters.
“If they have to come out for a call, we know them. We feel like we know them, we feel like they’re family. It just makes for better community involvement, community awareness.”
To learn more about Kilgore’s National Night Out activities, contact the program’s coordinator, KPD Lt. Tony Stone at 903-983-1559.