Posted on

It’s official: Safe Place sites open

Harrison County joins 10 other counties in Indiana with providing a place for children with locations to get help when needed.
The Safe Place program for this county was started by the Leadership Harrison County Class of 2005.
‘Other projects that the class considered were all simpler,’ said Al Rudolph, who spoke for class members at the New Salisbury EMS station, one of the first three Safe Place sites that were unveiled in simultaneous ceremonies Sunday afternoon. Instead, ‘we looked at what we believed would be the most helpful to the county.’
For more than a year, about 20 people who were in that Leadership class researched the Safe Place program, contacted business leaders and others about possible site locations, wrote and applied for grants, held fund-raisers and promoted the project, among other things, to make Sunday’s opening ceremony a reality.
‘This is a great honor for us,’ Rudolph said for the class members, many of whom attended one of the three ceremonies.
Since the National Safe Place program was established in 1983 by the YMCA Shelter House in Louisville, it has expanded to more than 13,760 sites in 41 states. More than 79,133 youth have received assistance from Safe Place locations.
Also on Sunday, Safe Place sites at the EMS stations in Corydon and Elizabeth were opened. Marty Cecil, the coordinator for the Safe Place program in Harrison County, was present at the Elizabeth ceremony. Dan Lowe, executive director of Blue River Services Inc., the official provider of the Safe Place program in Harrison County, was at the Corydon EMS station.
‘I’m very thankful for the people from the Leadership class who made this possible,’ said Cecil. ‘And I appreciate the EMS department’s willingness to be a part of this.’
While somewhat disappointed that rain Sunday reduced the number of people attending the ceremonies, Cecil said the main objective was accomplished, getting the first sites open.
Gary Kleeman, EMS director at Harrison County Hospital in Corydon, surprised those involved with the Safe Place project by placing the yellow and black emblem on five of the hospital’s ambulance. Two more ambulances will be designated as ‘roving’ Safe Place sites also, he said.
Kleeman said he came up with the idea because sometimes the ambulances are stationed at predesignated locations, such as near the intersection of S.R. 135 and Quarry Road in north Corydon, waiting for runs, or at events like the Harrison County Fair and when emergency personnel have stopped to eat.
‘If there’s a problem and a child needs help, they may see the logo and decide that’s their chance to get help,’ Kleeman said. ‘Those are just other opportunities when assistance may be asked for.’
Cecil said her work, as well as that of the Safe Place Support Council, isn’t finished. Additional sites will be opened throughout the county, ‘probably a few every week for the next several weeks,’ she said, and there will still be fund-raising efforts as needed.
Roadblocks will be set up in Corydon, Elizabeth, Palmyra and possibly New Salisbury this Saturday to collect for the Safe Place program.
Cecil said the roadblock will also serve as an opportunity to recruit volunteers to assist in many areas with the program.
Persons interested in being trained as emergency transportation volunteers or who want to help in other ways should call Cecil at 267-0476.