On Sunday afternoon, April 21, Johnston residents will have an opportunity to support the Johnston Police Department Explorers Post No. 405 and the young people who benefit from the program.
The 18th annual Johnston Police Department Explorers Post No. 405 Macaroni and Meatball Dinner will run from noon to 4 p.m. on the 21st and is open to the public for just $8 per ticket. The event will be held at the Johnston Senior Center.
The theme, according to Janice Riley, is “come one, come all.”
Proceeds will benefit Explorers on their way to the annual Police Academy Summer Camp, a requirement to complete the program. Like the dinner, the camp is no ordinary summer playground. It is grueling work – running miles in the dark and early hours of the morning, performing all sorts of physical tasks and learning more about life in a military-like atmosphere.
While tickets used to be $10, this year’s event has an $8 reduced rate.
“We all figured that a reduced price will hopefully bring in more revenue, especially since the cost of the camp just may increase,” said Riley, a registered nurse at Rhode Island Hospital who serves as president of the Explorers Post No. 405 Parents Committee.
The Explorers Post No. 405 is sanctioned by the Boy Scouts of America and is open to young men and women ages 14 to 20 who express an interest in law enforcement. Camp is a critical part of the program.
Riley said proceeds from the dinner will be used for the sole purpose of sending the Explorers to the 2013 camp, which will be held in July at Camp Varnum, a United States Army installation in Narragansett. The annual Police Academy Summer Camp, which was held in Burrillville last year, is under the direction of Johnston Police Captain Marc Boisvert and Charlestown Police Executive Officer Pat McMahon.
“The money we make at the dinner will help pay for uniforms, food, water ... everything the Explorers will need for their week-long stay at camp,” Riley said. “Believe me; this camp is no picnic and each and every Explorer must attend the camp in order to make rank.”
Although the fundraising dinner is more than a month away, Riley and the Parents Committee have launched ticket sales and are also busy collecting donations for various items that will help further insure a much-needed profit.
For Riley, hosting a successful event is especially important, as this may be her last macaroni and meatball dinner as president of the Explorers Post No. 405.
“I want to go out on a big note,” she said. “My son [John Sullivan] has really benefited from this great Explorers program. I have also enjoyed my relationships with all our people; now it’s time to turn the gavel over to someone else.”
Riley’s son remains active with the Explorers Post No. 405 as a junior advisor, a rank he attained last year.
“He’s highly respected within our entire rank. John Sullivan is what we hope all our Explorers will become once they complete our program,” said Police Chief Richard Tamburini.
Tamburini, Boisvert, Sullivan and the entire Explorers Post No. 405 membership will be working at the April 21 dinner. The Explorers will be doing everything from serving the dinners to directing traffic and cleaning the tables and room once the event is over.
More help will come from Alan and LuAnn Atwood, co-owners of Luigi’s Restaurant that’s located on Hartford Avenue in Johnston.
“Alan has been very, very generous in years past,” Riley said. “He gives us 100 pounds of pasta, they roll 3,000 meatballs and they make and donate all the soup and bread.”
Likewise, David Levesque, who owns and operates all the Brewed Awakenings in Rhode Island, donates the coffee.
“Our Parents Committee and even some friends will make all the desserts,” Riley added. “They’re also going to donate all the water. It should be a great time.”
People who attend the dinner will have an opportunity to win cash in a 50-50 Raffle or go home with one of many prizes the Parents Committee will raffle off.
To purchase tickets or even a table, call Riley at 529-6089. In addition to Riley, Explorers Post officers and parents are also selling tickets. The officers are: John Bousquet, first vice president; Joan Tenerella, second vice president; Lisa Scott, treasurer; and Tina D’Ercole, treasurer. Tickets may also be obtained by calling Boisvert at the JPD at 231-4210.