MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- As all the downtown bells around the Square began to ring and celebrate the arrival of 2014, the fifth annual NightWatch New Yearâ€™s Eve Celebration.
The event was sponsored by Community Crossroads and held at Murfreesboro's oldest church, First Presbyterian, on the corner of College and Spring streets in Murfreesboro.
All present thoroughly enjoyed the spirited sounds of the Music City Swing Band, melting inhibitions to the extent that many danced as they may not have "jumped and jived" in years.
The family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration presented the 2014 NightWatch Community Service Award to Mr. Brad Blomgren, Director of Way of Hope Ministries, a faith-based independent agency that provides safe shelter and essentials to homeless women and mothers with children of Rutherford County, as a collaborative initiative with several area Churches willing to share the use of their facilities.
The "Joy" theme of the evening was highlighted by community leaders including Dr. Raouf Ghattas, Author and Pastor of the Evangelical Arabic Church in Murfreesboro, Rev. Cliff Sharp of Greenhouse Ministries, Dr. Linda Gilbert, Superintendent of Murfreesboro City Schools, and County Mayor Ernest Burgess who, each in their own unique way, spoke encouraging thoughts, positive sentiments, and inspiring prayers of hope for 2014. Singers Christina McNulty and Andy Collins added their powerful talents with their own original songs.
Mike Cowles, Chief Executive Officer of the Heart of Tennessee Chapter was on hand to speak about the American Red Cross and their efforts to provide vital emergency support for Middle Tennessee Counties.
Just recently, the Red Cross has been involved in helping with safety steps for those affected by the bitter cold. The local chapter has also been sending funding and medical supplies to support the International Red Cross Disaster Relief efforts for the Philippines.
This year, our local NightWatch Celebration participants contributed $500 to the Red Cross toward their long-term collaborative restoration work among all the communities devastated by the Philippines typhoon.
In addition, many event visitors brought several boxes of canned goods, non-perishable foods and warm clothing items to be distributed to our Homeless neighbors through Greenhouse Ministries.
This event would not have been possible without the generous support of the many NightWatch friends.
As in years past, NightWatch concluded with a rising tide of joyful whoops, clanking, chiming, and creative noise making as all gleefully participated in the "virtual" New Year's fun and excitement, heartily welcoming 2014.