Willard celebrates 70th birthday with a free concert, bike presentation

The city of Willard celebrated the 70th anniversary of its incorporation on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 24 with a free concert at Jackson Street Park, courtesy of local recording artist, Dallas Jones.
Prior to the concert, Matt Kelley, executive vice-president at Freedom Bank, presented Tom McClain, chief of the Willard Police Department, with an electric-powered bicycle to be used for patrolling the town’s Frisco Trail. The bike is valued at $2,700.
“The beautiful thing about this bicycle is that it’s got a powerful electric motor,” McClain said before the presentation. “So … this bike can actually go 20 miles without a single stroke on the pedal. So, it’s electric, and it’s powerful. It will help us because we can patrol the extent of our trail from end to end, two or three times over, with minimal physical (exertion).”
McClain added that the bike is designed to perform in off-road conditions, making it ideal for use on the trail.
Before the start of the concert, McClain told those gathered that the bank was giving the bike to the department to help the police better ensure public safety on the Frisco Trail.
“There was a problem on the trail,” McClain said, “and the community saw that there was an opportunity to deal with the problem and present a solution. Matt Kelley, from Freedom Bank, offered to purchase this beast of a bike.”
McClain also recognized Officer Shawn Garner, who performed first aid on shooting victim Jason Long. Long was shot while he and his fiancé were walking along the Frisco Trail, allegedly by Kwaim Allen Stenson, on the evening of June 22. Garner was the first officer on the scene, and he performed first aid to Long, which Long credited with saving his life.
“I don’t know if you guys know this or not,” McClain said to the audience, “but a couple of months ago, a man and his partner were enjoying the Frisco Trail, like many of you do, when on that fateful night, he was shot. He stands here with us tonight, and he wanted to take this opportunity to face-to-face thank the young police officer who was there to administer immediate aid. According to Jason Long, Officer Garner saved his life that night.”
Following the presentation, Kelley said the bank decided to provide the department with the bike to help ensure public safety on the Frisco Trail.
“The Willard Police Department has done such a good job protecting this community,” Kelley said. “Led by Chief McClain, they’re just a wonderful group, very respectful. (We) thought they were very deserving of that.  Also, the Frisco Trail is such a crucial part of our community, both from a recreational standpoint, but also from the business standpoint. We just thought that patrolling that, making it as safe as we could for our friends and neighbors; that was the right thing to do.”
The bike is not the only piece of equipment which has been donated to the police department. McClain said the community has also donated a Kubota tractor for their D.A.R.E./PAL Outdoor Character Camp; he said the donations show the community has a high level of faith in the police department.
“The community doesn’t do things like this unless they have faith in the public safety program,” McClain said.


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