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A partnership for health and safety goes on the road


Carol Malott of Parkview LaGrange County EMS, Jo Schrader of the American Red Cross, and Chief Deputy Jeff Campos of the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department gathered at Parkview LaGrange Hospital COO Rob Myers’ office earlier this week to pick up a contribution from the hospital’s Community Health Improvement Program. The gift is in support of a “Health and Safety Day Camp” for area fourth grade students.

Through Malott, Schrader and Campos’ joint leadership – and with the support of the school systems and other community organizations – the steering committee has been able to expand the safety camp that Parkview LaGrange County EMS had organized each spring and expand it into the schools.

“Working with Jo [Schrader] and Jeff [Campos] instead of trying to organize it all ourselves has been wonderful,” Malott said. “Each of us is able to bring something different to the mix and the flow of information and education for the students has really benefitted.”

“The single-day format we had used past years worked for some students, but we were missing kids whose parents weren’t able to drive them to the fairgrounds in the early morning and pick them up mid-afternoon,” added Malott. “By taking the program directly to the schools, the transportation problem has gone away. We’ll be able to reach nearly 500 fourth grade students this spring – ten times as many as we saw last year.”

In addition to the funding supplied by Parkview LaGrange Hospital’s Community Health Improvement Program, “Health and Safety Day Camp” has also received financial support from the LaGrange County Community Foundation (LCCF), LIFE Youth Pod of the LCCF, LaGrange County REMC, and Farmers State Bank.

“We also couldn’t provide the program without the staff and in-kind support from the LaGrange Police Department, the Department of Natural Resources, the LaGrange County Dispatch Center, LaGrange County REMC, and, of course, our lead agencies, the American Red Cross, the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department, and Parkview LaGrange County EMS,” Schrader stated.

Campos agreed, adding, “This program gives us all a chance to meet, train and talk with kids about how to handle emergency situations – and do so when there isn’t an immediate emergency happening. They get to know us as people and it helps to remove the fear factor that comes into play in a live situation.”

The first of the new “Health and Safety Day Camps” took place at Westview Elementary in late January. Camps are also scheduled for the fourth graders at Prairie Heights, Parkside, Wolcott Mills, Shipshewana-Scott, and Lima-Brighton elementary schools in the coming months.