Project Lifesaver funds approaching goal

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 31, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &045; After only four months of fundraising, the Demopolis Pilot Club is less than $200 from their fundraising goal for Project Lifesaver, a national rescue program to help people in Marengo County who have Alzheimer&8217;s, autism, Down syndrome or who are nonverbal.

According to Charlotte Owens, Project Lifesaver committee member, their most recent donation of $300 from the Town of Myrtlewood puts their grand total at $13,718 raised. Their original fundraising goal was $7,680, but they have since learned the cost to implement the program will be less than they anticipated. This leaves them with extra money to purchase more bracelets, the main component of the program, for clients in the county.

These bracelets, or transmitter wristbands, emit an automatic tracking signal 24 hours a day which is used to help locate and identify a person who is registered through the Project Lifesaver program if they wander from home or their caregivers. The Pilot Club has already purchased 12 wristbands to benefit potential clients.

In October, two Pilot Club members along with first responders and members of the Marengo County Sheriff&8217;s Office conducted training to use the sophisticated tracking devices associated with the bracelets.

After a list has been compiled of who may be eligible for a wristband, the Sheriff&8217;s Office will decide, based on a priority system, who will receive the wristbands.

Owens said if they have any extra money, they might look into purchasing signs that designate the area as a participant in the Project Lifesaver program.

Although they have secured funds for training and other costs, Owens said the club is still looking to take their cause to churches, civic groups and businesses.

In all, 33 counties in Alabama participate in the program and 44 states in the country participate. Since its inception, Project Lifesaver has conducted 1,624 searches with a one hundred percent recovery rate. The most recent search on Dec. 15 in Dona Ana County, New Mexico retrieved a client with dementia within 2 hours of disappearance.

If you would like to learn more about Project Lifesaver, please contact Charlotte Owens at 334-216-9207 or visit www.projectlifesaver.org.