The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield’s Directorate of Emergency Services to allow Fort Stewart families to participate in Project Lifesaver.
Sheriff Steve Sikes and Capt. David Edwards met Thursday at Fort Stewart’s Provost Marshal Office to coordinate the presentation of a tracking bracelet to an autistic military child who lives with her family in on-post housing.
“I think this is awesome,” said Laura McCormick, mother of Asia McCormick, 8, who received the bracelet. “In the military, every time we move there are stressors that cause behavior changes for Asia. She wandered off right after we got here. We found her at a nearby playground, but she could have been hiding in a closet.”
McCormick said locking the doors is not enough, that she now has alarms on all the doors. She said her husband is serving an unaccompanied tour in Korea. With four other children at home, having the Lifesaver bracelet on Asia is a tremendous relief.
Edwards said the bracelet includes a chip that emits a radio signal every second. He said the radio signal is more reliable than a global positioning system, which can be blocked by metal shelters.
“The return time is less than 30 minutes,” Edwards said. “That’s what really matters to a family — recovery. It gives them peace of mind.”
Maj. Donnie Lucas, assistant chief of police, said if a recovery isn’t made in the first two hours, the likelihood of finding a child safe begins to diminish.
Sikes and Edwards also talked about the partnership LCSO has with its counterparts in Bryan and Chatham counties. Chatham County has air-search capability, Sikes said.
Julie Herrmann, director of emergency services; James Hackney, DES operations; Randall Thompson, DES juvenile investigator; and Capt. James Grubb, provost marshal, also are participating in the new partnership.
Sikes said he could not say enough about how important the military-civilian law enforcement partnership is for a cause so dear to his heart.
“The (Liberty County) Rotary Club made this (presentation) possible,” he said, referencing the $1,000 check recently donated by the local business leaders for Project Lifesaver. “I’m excited about using part of that donation for a family on Fort Stewart. It’s proof that Fort Stewart and Liberty County are one community.”
He said he got involved in Project Lifesaver when a friend with an autistic child mentioned her constant struggle to keep up with her child, who does not communicate verbally and can wander off. After searching several magazines, Sikes learned about Project Lifesaver.
“Now here we are today,” he said, noting the LCSO has given $300 Lifesaver bracelets to 10 clients. “We’re ready to take this thing statewide. I feel like the Lord is in it.”
Anyone interested in making a donation to the LCSO for Project Lifesaver can contact the department, Edwards said.