Barron, Wis. community uses National Night Out to heal after tumultuous year

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It started with a grueling search for Jayme Closs and then, more recently, two rounds of tornadic storms that damaged the area.

The last year has been a tough one for the Barron, Wisconsin community, so they needed National Night Out more than most towns.

The goal Tuesday night was to heal and move on.

Bounce houses, smiling families and kids playing on emergency vehicles set the stage for Barron County’s National Night Out in Anderson Park.

The event in Barron happened as other communities across the county hosted National Night Out get-togethers Tuesday.

Downed trees still surrounded Anderson Park during the celebration, serving as a recent reminder of severe weather, but freebies and food helped neighbors escape from said realities.

“It’s been tough,” said Rebecca Tillman. “I had trees land on my car and all the trees around my apartment got taken down. This really helps.”

Tillman and her two small kids got into the spirit of the night, joining many others in Barron who are also just months removed from the Closs kidnapping case, too.

“That was pretty scary,” Tillman recalled. “I didn’t think anything like that would happen in the town of Barron.”

“Besides the Closs investigation, we’ve had three tornadoes in Barron County in the last month,” said Capt. Ron Baures, of the Barron County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s been difficult, but as a community, we’ve come together.”

“I think we do have some stuff to celebrate, of course, the Jayme Closs case and her return home,” said Chief Bryon Miller, of the Barron Police Department.

The healing community was recently at the center of the national spotlight, joining the rest of the country on National Night Out.

“After everything that’s happened, this is something to be happy about,” said Tillman.

In another positive development, Chief Miller said Closs plans to be back in school this fall and is trying to move on.