Event for Gibsonburg students promotes safe walking, biking

GIBSONBURG — Scores of Hilfiker Elementary students met at Zion Lutheran Church for Wednesday's annual celebration of "Walk and Bike to School Day."

"It's just become a tradition," said Sarah Halbeisen, who organizes the event. Halbeisen — the students simply call her "Nurse Sarah" — said she has been overseeing the program, which encourages children's safe travels throughout the village, for many years. The program was not held last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is my 13th year," Halbeisen said.

The day began with a walk led by Gibsonburg police cruisers, with their lights flashing, from Hilfiker Elementary to the Zion Lutheran Church parking lot, where students were met by groups of students from Gibsonburg High School. There they had the opportunity to participate in fun activities, interact with public safety personnel and learn about pedestrian, bicycle and many other facets of safety important in their lives.

Crews from the police department, Gibsonburg Volunteer Fire Department, Sandusky County EMS Life Squad 14 and the Sandusky County Parks Department were on hand to to show off a fire engine, ambulance and several patrol vehicles. Additionally, the elementary students, assisted by the high schoolers, played hopscotch, jumped rope and ran an obstacle course, many joined by parents, grandparents and other family members.

Event promotes health, safety

Nikki Willis of the Gibsonburg branch of the Sandusky County Library system lead students in a dynamic exercise routine and Laura Bogard of the Sandusky County Health Department and program coordinator for the Ohio Department of Health's Creating Healthy Communities program gave out activity books on street safety. Bogard, also representing the U.S. Department of Transportation's Complete Streets Project, offered information on pedestrian infrastructure and walking and bicycling safely.

Tables were set up with displays to promote all aspects of students' wellness, including general safety, mental health and tobacco-free lifestyles.

The annual celebration is funded through the Ohio Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to School grant, Halbeisen said.



This article originally appeared on Fremont News-Messenger: Event for Gibsonburg students promotes safe walking, biking