Autism Fundraiser Helps With “Project Life Saver”

Posted at: 07/19/2013 9:25 PM
Updated at: 07/19/2013 10:12 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- A 4 year-old autistic girl is now safe at home after wandering off early Friday morning.

The bracelet she was wearing, could’ve been an important tool, had she not been found right away.

That little girl was found wandering near a busy highway in Rochester. She was wearing a "Project Lifesaver Bracelet," typically worn on children who have autism. One event in Rochester Friday, just happened to be raising money specifically for those bracelets.

Those with the Autism Foundation held a fundraiser to raise money for "Project Life Saver." This case involving that young girl, shows the importance of such technology.

Roughly 160 golfers hit the course for the fundraiser. "What ‘Project Life Saver’ is, is for at-risk youth and adults who have a tendency to wander," said Sgt. Ryan Manguson with the Rochester Police Department.

"People may think it’s like a GPS system, it's actually not, it’s better. It penetrates sky ways, subways, and water,"  said Brad Trahan with the RT Autism Foundation.

That's the same bracelet the 4-year old girl was wearing when found by police. She was wandering near Highway 63 at 4:00am.

"When our officers were in the process of trying to track down, through this bracelet that she had and other means, where she belonged and who her parents were, the father actually responded to the location where the officers were and found her," said Sgt. Manguson.

Had the girl’s father not realized she was missing, police could have brought her home safely with one of those.

"It could tell us that, and we could track down her information for her frequency for her transmitter, and we can deploy our team and search for her immediately," said Sgt. Manguson.

"Since ‘Project Life Saver International’ was founded in 1999, they've had over 2,500 searches, no fatalities. The average search time for a missing individual is 30 minutes or less," said Trahan.

Trahan was one of the people heading the fundraiser Friday, because he knows just how important this technology is.

"I've been on a search where a boy was found dead 200 yards south from his home and drowned, and I saw the emotion of that family and the caregivers. I went to that funeral and we vowed as a community, as a foundation, we never want to see a mom and dad kiss that casket and say goodbye to their son when we have technology to help stop that," said Trahan.

The Olmsted County and Rochester Police Department's "Project Life Saver Team" just got back from Ohio, taking number one in a search competition.