Lifesaver luau planned

Published 9:45 pm Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Now that warm weather seems to be here to stay, a Hawaiian luau is in order.

Suffolk’s Project Lifesaver will deliver on April 25 with its “Project Luau” at the Hilton Garden Inn, 100 E. Constance Road. The event will raise money for the organization that outfits people prone to wandering, such as those with autism or Alzheimer’s, with transmitters.

“It goes to a program that saves taxpayers a lot of dollars and brings loved ones home,” said Lt. Mason Copeland of the Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue.

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No taxpayer dollars go toward the program. It is funded entirely by donations, fundraising and fees for clients who can afford to pay.

Currently with 41 clients in Suffolk, the program outfits those in need of the service with small tracking devices around their wrist or ankle. Tracking devices are kept at each fire station, and personnel trained in the search respond when a caregiver finds their loved one is missing. The average recovery time for Project Lifesaver searchers internationally is 30 minutes, according to the program’s website.

The program does have costs, however. Bringing a new client into the program is $350 for the initial setup. The battery and band on the transmitters are changed every month, a cost of about $10 each. New tracking equipment costs between $1,200 and $1,400.

“Some of the original equipment is outdated,” said Copeland, adding the program was started in Suffolk in 2001. “We don’t want to be at a point where the original equipment isn’t functioning.”

Training for rescuers also has some cost, although Copeland said they try to do most of it in-house. There are no administrative fees for the program — 100 percent of funds received go toward equipment and the other costs.

Folks are encouraged to wear their best Hawaiian attire to the April 25 event. Leis will be provided.

Cocktail hour with complimentary wine will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. A buffet dinner will be served from 7 to 8, and the Rhondels will play from 8 to 11:30.

Guests will get the chance to bid on items in a silent auction, and a cash bar will be available.

Tickets are $40 each or $75 per couple. A variety of sponsorship levels are available, and items for the silent auction still are needed. A table for 10 is available for $500.

To get tickets, discuss sponsorships or donate items, call Copeland at 754-8787 or Deborah Underwood at 539-1555.