Haleyville hosting annual 911 Festival starting Wednesday
by Elane Jones
Sep 02, 2012 | 2441 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In 1968, AT&T reserved the digits “911” nationwide for emergency use. The city of Haleyville introduced the first 911 system, which was located at the police station at Haleyville City Hall, and on Feb. 16, 1968, Alabama Speaker of the House, Rankin Fite, made the first call from that system which was answered by Congressman Tom Bevill on a bright red telephone, thus making Haleyville the home of the first 911 call.

Each year, Haleyville celebrates that role in history by hosting its annual 911 Festival to honor all law enforcement, fire, emergency and military personnel.

This year’s festival will be held Wednesday through Saturday. The festival’s opening ceremony will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Haleyville High School football field.

Jasper Police Chief Connie Rowe will serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies, and the event will feature a number of guest speakers including actor Ben Davies from the movie “Courageous.”

There will be a number of activities held during the four-day festival including the following events:

• Wednesday: Educational day for area schools, including a first responders career fair for regional high school 10th graders (100-mile radius of Haleyville) at the Haleyville National Guard Armory located on Armory Road just off Newburg Road in Haleyville from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Ben Davies will be meeting with area youth at the Haleyville High School Gym from 5 until 6 p.m., and the opening ceremony will be at 6 p.m. at the football field.

Area churches are also being asked to host a first responder chaplain in their evening church services.

• Thursday: Regionally based first responders (100-mile radius of Haleyville) will participate in a one day conference featuring vendors, suppliers and exhibitors. Most events will be held at the Haleyville Neighborhood Facilities Building, and will be open to the public with some controlled areas requiring professional credentials.

The Alabama Attorney General, the director of Homeland Security and the director of Alabama Emergency Management Agency will be on hand Thursday to meet and greet first responders and citizens in the Haleyville area.

Free CEU and APOST training is also being offered through the University of North Alabama’s Public Safety Institute at the new National Guard Armory on Newburg Road in Haleyville. The classes are closed to the public, and potential students must go online to register at www.una.edu/psi.

A community banquet honoring first responders will be held from 4 until 6 p.m. Thursday at the Haleyville National Guard Armory and will feature guest speakers, Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper and a Major General from the United States Army Reserve.

• Friday: First responder competitions and training will be held on Friday at different venues throughout Winston, Franklin and Marion Counties, including the Glock Armorers School which is being offered to military and law enforcement personnel for the cost of $45. To reserve a slot, contact Chief Deputy Jimmy Madison at 205-369-0577.

Friday evening’s festivities will include a street dance at 9 p.m., and numerous other community events sponsored by exhibitors and vendors, including a barbecue cook-off, arts and crafts exhibits, and a kid’s carnival.

• Saturday: All those who own vintage police and fire vehicles are invited to participate in a parade, which will begin at 10 a.m. Line-up will be at the Haleyville Elementary School on 20th Street at 9 a.m. Saturday’s events will also feature arts and crafts exhibits, a car show, a tractor show, barbecue sampling, entertainment, a carnival and a Glock firearms familiarization for civilians at the Haleyville Range.

If you would like more information about the festival you may go online at www.haleyvillechamber.org or call 205-486-4611.