Bethel girls fundraise for Lifesaver

Published 10:13 pm Monday, October 7, 2019

Crowds that enjoyed the 2019 Suffolk Peanut Fest Parade on North Main Street Saturday also stopped by the Suffolk Masonic Lodge 30 for a fundraiser filled with food and children’s games, plus a celebrity guest.

Job’s Daughters International Bethel 28 held a fundraiser for Project Lifesaver at the lodge at 247 N. Main St. The international organization teaches young women between the ages of 10 and 20 how to be strong and independent, according to Laura Austin, the event organizer and Bethel guardian for the chapter.

In addition to essential life skills, the organization also gives these girls a “safe place,” Austin said.

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“It gives them an opportunity to know that they have a safe place that they can come to and adults that they can talk to,” she said, and they also talk to their fellow “sisters” in the organization.

Food concessions were sold at the event, as were tickets for 10 different games. They ranged from duck pond and cornhole to an oversized “KerPlunk”-like game, and all of them were made by the girls of Bethel 28.

“My girls have worked really hard on this, because each one of them took a game and made it,” Austin said. “Each one of them had that project to do.”

There was also a special appearance by Lt. Joe Kenda, the retired Colorado Springs homicide detective and star of Investigation Discovery’s “Homicide Hunter” who lives in Suffolk. Austin said she asked Kenda to be a “celebrity host” for their Saturday event.

“We just happened to hit a lucky weekend where Joe Kenda was able to come be with us today,” Austin said. “It was awesome.”

The proceeds for the event will be donated to the Project Lifesaver program. Project Lifesaver participants are equipped with transponders that emit a signal that can be picked up by special devices stored at each Suffolk fire station.

Most participants are children with a condition like autism or adults who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. When a call is received that a program participant is lost, rescue personnel can take their search devices to the location where the person was last seen and usually are able to find and rescue them speedily.

Recovery times for Project Lifesaver agencies are 30 minutes on average, according to That’s 95-percent less than the time that standard search operations typically require without Project Lifesaver.

Austin said the service gives “peace of mind” to families.

“That’s exactly what they offer families. It’s just peace of mind,” she said.