Thursday, July 6, 2017

Fourth of July in Centralia

Above: Centralia city councilor Peter Abbarno, 41, in gray shirt, participated in the SWAT challenge Tuesday morning. The activities were part of a fundraiser benefiting children in the community, sponsored by the Centralia Police Officers Association.

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

On the Fourth of July, community members in the City of Centralia partied like it was 1776. Fireworks throughout Lewis County could be heard well after midnight.

The festivities began in Borst Park with a pancake feed, served by local city councilors, and an 8K and a 1.5K run called, “I Ran from the Cops,” followed by a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) challenge.

The challenge stations -- running, push ups, sit ups, and pull ups -- were part of an actual entry level SWAT exam as specified by the Washington State Training Commission. 

Administered by regional SWAT team members, the timed test is the same that every SWAT officer must pass on the first day of SWAT school. If an officer fails any event, the officer is sent home right then – no excuses or exceptions.

Luckily for these participants, no one was booted out, because it was all for a good cause.

Above: Runners start the 1.5K run on Tuesday morning at Borst Park. Annnie Voetberg of Centralia was the first woman to cross the 1.5K finish line at 8 minutes and 50 seconds.

Sponsored by the Centralia Police Officers Association, the funds raised through entry fees go toward scholarships, bike helmets for kids, and community projects serving hundreds of children.

There were over 100 participants this year, said Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza, who supervised the performance of many of the possible recruits, including eleven members of the Johnson Family. 

Ribbons were awarded for participation, timing, and ability ranked within several age categories.

Above: Bentley Johnson, 7, of Centralia, shows everyone how it’s done. He did 121 push ups.

Above: Samantha Johnston, 11, of Centralia, focuses before accomplishing six pull ups. She received a ribbon for coming in fourth for her age category.

Later, a parade was held in downtown Centralia, as well as a demolition derby and fireworks display at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds.