“It’s tuna-rrific!”

Sheriff Vance Hill invented that word on the spot as he stood with other law enforcement officers and representatives of United Supermarkets, Good Samaritan Ministries and the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday at United.

All held cans of tuna for a photo. Their intent was to remind people of the canned tuna drive held as part of National Night Out, which will be the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 1. The tuna drive will benefit Good Samaritan Ministries. The neighborhood that donates the most cans of tuna wins a trophy.

Neighborhood block parties will be held in Brownwood, Early and other locations throughout the county. Law enforcement officers will attend the parties, giving residents and officers a chance to get acquainted.

The National Night Out website describes the event as “an annual community-building event that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.”

The Chamber of Commerce helps coordinate the event.

“Because tuna is an inexpensive, lean source of protein, we are always looking for opportunities to make the community aware of that,” Good Samaritan Ministries Executive Director Leesa Stephens said. “It’s a great item for a food drive because it’s relatively inexpensive.

“A few years ago with National Night Out, we were able, with local law enforcement, to come up with a partnership. They’re having their neighborhood parties. The law officers are going out and meeting the community. Why not have a friendly, fun challenge to see which neighborhood can collect the most cans of tuna?”

For several years the Yellow Rose Estates was the “hands down” winner before being upset last year by Carl Boiven and his neighborhood, Stephens said.

"So the trophy’s up for grabs this year,” Stephens said. “When you go to the grocery store here at United or wherever you shop, pick up two or three cans of tuna, throw them in your bag and donate them to Good Samaritan Ministries.”

Bring the cans to the parties or take them directly to the Good Samaritan warehouse, which will be open that night from 6-8 p.m., Stephens said.

“Bring it to the party or bring it to us, NNO, Tuesday, Oct. 1,” Stephens said.

Brownwood Police Chief Ed Kading has experienced National Night Out in San Angelo, where he previously worked. This year’s event will be his first in Brownwood.

In San Angelo, parties were hosted at locations such as schools, churches or businesses, Kading said.

“This National Night Out here in Brownwood seems to be more community oriented, in people’s houses, and a little bit more interactive,” Kading said. “But Brownwood’s a smaller community. I’m looking forward to it — absolutely looking forward to it, to be able to meet with more citizens and form those partnerships when things are good.

“I think it sends a message: anybody who would wish to do Brownwood harm knows the majority of the citizens and law enforcement and everybody are communicating together.”

Sunni Modawell, executive director of the Brownwood chamber, did not have a count of how many neighborhoods have signed up to host parties. In previous years, there have been 70 to 80 parties, Modawell said.

The chamber takes the calls for parties and sends lists to law enforcement, Modawell said.

“Stay ‘tuna-d,’” Modawell said.