Newton boy invites fire, police to cookout

By Seth Mabry

A 4-year-old Newton boy got to hangout with his heroes on Saturday afternoon. 
Blake Helms loves firefighters and policemen. That love sparked an idea in his little mind – “I wanna have a cookout,” he told his mom. 
About a month and a half ago, after Blake told his mom Dana that he wanted to have a cookout for local firefighters and policemen, Dana began contacting the local agencies. 
“We got an email from his mom asking if we’d be interested in coming to a cookout,” said Newton Fire Chief Kevin Yoder. “The family wanted to set a date and then invite all the firemen and police officers that were on duty that day.”
Blake’s love for firefighters began at a very young age, but it really grew with the creation of the new Newton Fire Headquarters. 
“We live off Highway 16 and Highway 10 where the roads split,” Dana said. “Blake kind of watched the new fire headquarters being built, and we promised him that we would go see it when it was done. Ever since then, we stop in about once a month and the firemen will always give Blake a tour and let him see the trucks and things – he always has a blast and he really loves it.”
Blake is very adamant about that fact that he is going to be a firefighter when he gets older, according to Dana. 
Blake’s love for local officials doesn’t end with those who fight fires, but it extends over to policemen too. 
“We talked with Captain Mark Beal at the Newton Police Department and he was excited about the idea too,” Dana said. 
The Helms family really decided to do the cookout as a way to say thanks to those who keep us safe without our community. 
“We made 41 hamburgers, and 41 hotdogs,” Dana said. “Almost all of them got eaten, and what was leftover we sent to the fire station since they work 24/7.”
The cookout was a huge success, with all the Newton firemen that were on duty stopped by sometime throughout the day, several police men, and even some probation officers, according to Dana. 
“Blake was beside himself,” Dana said. “It was amazing how they just came and got to know each other and all of us. It was really impressive to see all of them show up.”
The Helms’ invited neighbors as well, who also came to the cookout with their kids. The firemen were kind enough to bring by little fire hats for the kids, and Newton Police Chief Don Brown even brought Blake a motorized police car, a badge, and a SWAT Team hat. 
“It was a really nice way to say thanks – it let us show them how appreciative we are,” Dana said. 
“We really appreciate them doing that, it was just a great way to reach out and show their appreciation, Yoder said.