Attorney general visits for community day
By James Peacemaker, Jr. Managing Editor
May 20, 2014, 10:42
JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Hopewell Police Chief John Keohane, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Hopewell Mayor Mike Bujakowski plant shrubs along the entrance of Mathis Park on Saturday during Community Day.
HOPEWELL — Along with the hot dogs, snow cones and bounce house at the Community Day in Hopewell on Saturday, there was also a bit of gardening.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring along with Police Chief John Keohane and Mayor Mike Bujakowski symbolically dug holes and each planted a small shrub. While there were many more shrubs lined up and many more holes to be dug, it showed their direct commitment to serving the community.
The shrubs lined the entrance of Mathis Park where the event was held to help bring the community closer to public safety officials and organizations offering services.
“I don’t exactly have a green thumb but I do like to garden. I’m a frustrated gardener. … But I’m looking forward to picking up the shovel and helping out with the landscape here,” Herring said before helping dig.
Herring said the first annual community day was started eight years ago with then Attorney General Bob McDonnell.
“When it comes to law enforcement and public safety, it’s non-partisan issue. It’s not a Democrat or Republican issue. And I felt this is a good program and I’m proud to continue this as a bipartisan tradition for the Attorney General’s Office,” he said.
Tommy Meadows of Keep Hopewell Beautiful grills hot dogs to give away to those in attendance.
Herring said he enjoys working at the state level to make policy decisions but he got his start as a county supervisor.
“It’s really at the community level where you make the difference,” he said.
State Sen. Henry Marsh, Del. Rosalyn Dance and state Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Tonya Vincent were also in attendance as well as city leaders.
Police and fire vehicles were lined up for people to get a closer look, and numerous police officers and city staff attended to reach out to the public.
“I’m honored that [Herring] picked us as the first one under his new administration,” Keohane said.
Keohane said building connections between city officials and the people they serve is important to improving life in the city, and the event does just that.
“It’s just a time of fellowship also. Just to get to know your neighbors. Get to know each other. I need to create an army here in the city of Hopewell. The more that participate in our army, the safer and more secure we will be if we all work together,” he said.