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Children raise money for Project Lifesaver

By Staff | Jul 21, 2010

Jordyn Potocyzny, Chase VanDyne, Aleeah Fletcher, Madison Year, Ryley VanDyne, Gage Potocyzny, Carson Thomas, Lexie Roccio and Lakyn Fletcher raised $120 for “Project Lifesaver”.

The Fourth of July weekend was celebrated by many children with fireworks, ice cream and long days at the pool. However, there was a group of Middlebourne youngsters who chose to give their time to a great cause.

Jordyn Potocyzny, Chase VanDyne, Aleeah Fletcher, Madison Year, Ryley VanDyne, Gage Potocyzny, Carson Thomas, Lexie Roccio and Lakyn Fletcher, along with the help of their mothers, set up a lemonade and snack stand to benefit Project Lifesaver at their mothers’ yard sale.

The group of children was able to raise $120 for the cause – enough to allow one individual to have a tracking bracelet for an entire year. A special thanks goes out to all who donated.

This mission of Project Lifesaver is to provide rapid response to save lives and reduce a potential for serious injury for adults and children who have Alzheimer’s, Down Syndrome, Autism, dementia, and other related disorders.

A bracelet is worn by the individuals all the time. They send out a signal to those trying to locate them if they become lost. They can be detected one mile away on the ground. This cuts down on hours of search time along with people needed to do a team search of an area.

The Project LifeSaver provides equipment, training, and certification to support the law enforcement and public safety organizations which operates the program in their communities.

The method relies on proven radio technology and specially trained search and rescue teams. Most who wander are found within a few miles from home, and search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes. Recovery times for Project Lifesaver clients average 30 minutes – 95 percent less time than standard operations.

Currently, 1,100 agencies in 45 states participate in the program-police, sheriff, fire, public safety departments and other emergency responders. There are currently 22 counties in West Virginia that now have the Project Lifesaver, including Wetzel County.

Locally, Project Lifesaver was put to use in Paden City on July 9, 2009. According to Wetzel County Project Lifesaver Coordinator Sgt. Dave Byers of the New Martinsville Police Department, the police department received a call around 7:15 p.m. that a 73-year-old male with Alzheimer’s who was missing. Byers responded with his tracking equipment at 7:29 p.m and the elderly person was located by 7:37 p.m. in Paden City. This person did have one of the locator bracelet on through the Project Lifesaver, which resulted in the quick response and location.

On Feb. 3, 2010, the NMPD Dispatch Center received a complaint of a missing person who was found to be a client of Wetzel County Project Lifesaver.

The complainant advised that her 84-year-old husband had gone to the pharmacy and bank at 9:30 a.m. and had not returned. Since the missing person was driving a vehicle, the department immediately took information to enter the missing person into NCIC. After obtaining the information that was needed to start the search Sgt. Byers left NMPD with a receiver. As Sgt. Byers searched through New Martinsville, he picked up a signal in the area of state Route 2 and Duerr Street. He followed the signal to Wal Mart where he entered the store and located the missing person.

The missing person was found 11 minutes after the search began. He was returned safely to his residence.

For more information on Project Lifesaver, contact Tom Cooper, Tyler County Office of Emergency Management, at 304-337-9366.