MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (8/6/13) – Imagine the terror of suddenly discovering your child or other loved one with special needs has disappeared. Where do you even begin to search?
Thanks to concerned parents, along with the Muhlenberg Sheriff's Department and the county's Fiscal court, this may become a situation that never happens in Muhlenberg County again...via Project Lifesaver.
This tracking device is already in use in many communities across the nation, with proven lifesaving results. The electronic bracelet can help authorities to find missing children with autism or Down Syndrome and adults with Dementia or Alzheimer.
Two Muhlenberg parents, Shawnna Gunterman of Powderly and Amanda Hobgood of Central City, are working to help raise funding for parents who may not be able to afford the system.
"Right now it looks like the tracking device system will be installed in either the Muhlenberg County Sheriff's Department, or the Emergency Management Department,” said Gunterman. “There's a lot of people involved at this point."
Sheriff McGehee told Surfky News, "Project Lifesaver is something we have been trying to get put in place for some time. We certainly believe that it has the potential to benefit us significantly. It would be used to return a loved one back to their home. We have the backing of Judge Executive Rick Newman. He says we'll have the support of the Fiscal Court. It looks like the initial cost will be around $3,500, plus the special training of those who do the actual tracking. I've also talked to Keith Putnam, the head of Emergency Management and Christy Jenkins, director of our 911 facility, and they are willing to help with this program as well." McGehee noted.
"The transmitter that we would have would be linked to a monitor on the person using it." McGehee explained. "I have heard that the recovery time is within minutes when someone trained in using the device arrives on the scene. According to Mr. Putnam, Henderson County is using the system now with enormous success."
Judge Executive Rick Newman said he and the fiscal court are ready and willing to do their part to make this happen.
"I think it's an excellent opportunity for us to participate. It's going to help find those with special needs. The sheriff is always coming up with great ideas and programs. He brought the idea to me, and I said, ‘you are 'Right On' with this, so I'm all for it.’ We're hoping it is something that the county will appreciate."
Ms. Gunterman, the mother of two children with autism, said that it's a sad fact that "just since January of this year, there have been 13 autistic children nationwide who have wondered off and been found dead because they were not found in time. I think Project Lifesaver is a wonderful thing for our community because it's for both children and adults. It is going to take fund raising to make it happen. For the hand held monitor and bracelet, the cost is around $300. That's where we come in. We are fundraising so that people who can't afford it can get the bracelet. Right now we are trying to set up a committee to make sure the people who really need them get these."
To help in the fundraising process, phone 270-377-1990 or 270-757-0862.
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