Two more Project Lifesaver bracelets awarded in county

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 6, 2008

LINDEN &8212; Two more Marengo County residents received Project Lifesaver wristbands, Chief Sheriff&8217;s Deputy Tommie Reese said Tuesday.

Randolph E. Howell, 84, of Demopolis, and Christopher C. Williams, 86, of the Miller community, both Alzheimer&8217;s patients, received their bracelets as the main component of a rescue program meant for those who suffer from Alzheimer&8217;s, autism, Down syndrome, are nonverbal or any other condition that would cause them to wander.

Mildred Long, Williams&8217; daughter and caretaker, said her father has been known to simply take off without she or her other family members knowing. At least three times in the last five years he has been lost for significant periods of time. Their house is located in a secluded area and the end of long road, so once Williams has left it can be difficult to find him.

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Long said she often recruits the help of her brothers, Reginald and Lester, in finding her father. But when they are not around, Long said she worried about her father&8217;s safety.

With his new bracelet, which will emit a location signal in the event of a search for him, Long said she can relax a little more about her father going off by himself.

The sheriff&8217;s office started accepting applications for the bracelets in January, and has approximately 30 bracelets available to Marengo County citizens. Project Lifesaver clients wear the bracelet 24 hours a day, and its signal can be tracked by the Project Lifesaver Search and Rescue Team. Every 30 days a sheriff&8217;s deputy checks the bracelet&8217;s battery and replaces the band.

According to Reese, the sheriff&8217;s office also inputs all their clients&8217; information into a database that can be accessed by any place that is a member of Project Lifesaver International. The benefit of such a service is that if a Marengo County client were to wander outside of the area, the sheriff&8217;s office would have extra assistance from their neighboring Project Lifesaver participants.

The Pilot Club of Demopolis, who began fundraising for the program in July 2007, was instrumental in bringing the program to the county. They were able to raise enough funds to both cover the costs of training and implementation, in part with the help of a $5,000 grant from Pilot International Foundation. One of the focuses of the Pilot Club is to support efforts for people affected by brain disorders and disabilities with volunteer activities, projects and fundraisers.

In all, 33 counties in Alabama participate in the program and 44 states in the country participate. Since its inception, Project Lifesaver has conducted 1,645 searches with a one hundred percent recovery rate. The most recent search on April 29 in Roanoke, Va. retrieved a mentally retarded client within 2 hours and 21 minutes of disappearance.

If you would like more information on Marengo County Project Lifesaver please contact the Marengo County Sheriff&8217;s Office at 334-295-4208.