Wednesday, April 16, 2014

KEEPING KIDS SAFE IN YORK COUNTY

A unique program in South Carolina sets its sights on preventable injuries in children.

By Jenifer Goodwin, associate editor

From his office window at Piedmont Medical Center EMS in Rock Hill, S.C., Robert White can see a series of stones nestled in the grass, each engraved with the name of a child who died from traumatic injury. There are markers for 10-year-old Spencer Lee and 11-year-old Larell Huey, killed when the car a relative was driving veered off the road. Neither boy was wearing a seatbelt. There are markers for children who drowned, who were killed by drunk drivers, and the victims of child abuse and suicide.

“When I look out there today, I can see a little toy truck laid on one of the stones, and a cross and a candle on another,” says White, community relations coordinator for Piedmont Medical Center EMS, which provides 911 medical response to York County. “When families come visit the stones, I give them a few minutes for their quiet time. Then I go out, meet them and talk to them. The first time I met the dad of one of the little girls, he had tears in his eyes. He said, ‘Thank you for remembering my child. Thank you for advocating for children.’ He pulled $200 out of his wallet and handed it to me. He said, ‘I want you to do something in honor of my child.’”

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