Project Lifesaver helps Bono family - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Project Lifesaver helps Bono family

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Holli Crowe's daughter, Macie, is an 11 year old with Down's syndrome and Autism.

 Crowe's biggest fear, just like any other parent, is Macie will wander away from home and she will not be able to find her.

 However, the Craighead County Sheriff's Department has a program to find her.

It's called Project Lifesaver, a search system for people with Alzheimer's, Autism and Down's syndrome. They wear a bracelet with a tracker so if they do wander away, the department can easily find them.  

"She is, for the most part, very outgoing, very loving, very fun," Crowe said. "But she is easy to wander. She has no fear. She is not scared of anything or anybody. I don't know if there's anything that would stop her."

Macie is also non-verbal, meaning she speaks few to no words. 

"She wouldn't be able to tell you who her parents were or where she lived or who to contact if she were to get lost," Crowe said. "It's terrifying to know that she could get away."

To eliminate some of this fear, Macie's family bought her a Project Lifesaver bracelet last September. 

"Once we've put it on, she keeps it on and doesn't act like it bothers her," Crowe said. "She just wears it and enjoys it. She doesn't try to pull it off, hasn't tried to get rid of it yet."

Macie is currently the only child in the area who has the device.  

"We wanted to make sure that if she would get away from us that we would be able to get ahold of her quick. That someone could help us find her," Crowe said. 

That someone is the Craighead County Sheriff's Department. 

"Its design is for it to help us find them quickly," investigator Justin Rolland said. "Time is very, very important."

Rolland said when people go missing, it often takes hours, days, sometimes months to find them.

"When the call comes in and we have this lost person and we search and we search with negative results, only to find the person deceased the very next day or the following night, it's just discouraging," Rolland said. 

Project Lifesaver cuts this search time down to about 30 minutes. The bracelet sends out a signal, which the sheriff's department and community can pick up with vehicle and handheld trackers to locate the missing person. 

"Having these volunteers is worth its wait in gold," Rolland said. "When you have an additional ten to 15 people to show up to help in that search, along with the monitoring devices, it's absolutely imperative."

So far, the department has not needed to use Project Lifesaver to find a missing person, and neither has Macie's family. 

"I hope we never have to use it, but it's peace of mind knowing that we have it," Crowe said. 

The sheriff's department is currently working with the Jonesboro Elks Lodge to make sure every child who needs a bracelet gets one. Elks Lodge received a $9,000 grant back in November for Project Lifesaver. 

"Every parent who has a child that may wander or an elder that may wander, it's important that they have that device," Elks Lodge member Lynn Cooper said. "It could happen at school, it could happen at home, with a friend so this way they're protected whoever they're with."

If anyone has a loved one who would benefit from Project Lifesaver, e-mail Justin Rolland at jrolland@craigheadso.com or Philip Wheaton at pwheaton@craigheadso.com for more information. 

Copyright 2014 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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