Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen selected Noblesville Police Dept. therapy dog Luna as the grand marshal of the Fourth of July Stars & Stripes Forever Parade. The 1-year-old black lab joined the police force earlier this year. Her job is to comfort people in crisis situations and deescalate situations.
Luna also helps police officers, firefighters, first responders and community members dealing with stress or trauma.
“The Fourth of July is about celebrating our freedom and independence, and Luna helps members of the community regain their own freedom from mental health issues,” Jensen stated in a press release. “Luna’s presence helps to calm and deescalate stress and emotions in people who are having a bad day and need help. Therapy dogs help break down barriers to communication. By combining emotional support and therapeutic interventions, such as nuzzling and laying on the lap of someone in crisis, Luna helps reduce anxiety and stress, in addition to biological stressors like heart rate, blood pressure and breathing.”
Noblesville Police Dept. Officer Ben Lugar is Luna’s primary handler and will join her in the parade. Luna’s first day on the job was in February, and on that same day, she was deployed to her first call.
“The child was just going through a pretty stressful environment and home life. The child was in crisis mode and just hearing that Luna was out there helped instantly calm that child down so we could get the family connected to resources. Luna helped the child know that we are here to support you,” Lugar stated.
Luna is part of Noblesville’s NobleAct program created in 2020 by Jensen. The initiative is meant to help people in need, ranging from substance abuse to homelessness to mental health issues. Luna is the first public safety therapy dog in Hamilton County.
“Luna is an invaluable asset for the Noblesville Police Dept. and Noblesville community. Her presence at the department with officers and staff always makes coming to work a joy for me and she has given me a renewed passion for policing,” Lugar stated. “When we are out in the public, community members always come up to see her and thank her. She really is the goal of NobleAct, to build those strong community connections so we all have the common goal of being healthy, happy and safe.”
This year’s free Fourth of July festivities, themed “Stars and Stripes Forever in Noblesville,” will take place July 4. The downtown parade presented starts at 4:30 p.m. The expanded free fireworks festival follows from 6 to 10 p.m. at Forest Park with activities for kids, teens and adults, along with food vendors and other attractions.
Hairbanger’s Ball will perform on the Republic Services Main Stage from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Free trolley rides will be available from Noblesville High School’s parking lot to Forest Park throughout and after the festival. At 10 p.m., the annual fireworks display will begin from the Forest Park Golf Course. A fireworks viewing area with nearby parking will be available at Federal Hill Commons.
Anyone interested in participating in the 2022 Noblesville July 4th Parade have until June 29 to submit entry forms, which are available online at noblesvillefireworksfestival.com. Registration is $25. The City of Noblesville is waiving the entry fee to all nonprofits organizations that want to participate.