Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Area Masons visit Head Start for Child Identification Program

GG48-Masons-at-headstart
Area Masons visited the Vienna Early Learning Center last week as a part of their Illinois Child Identification Program in which the lodge members prepare identification packets on participating children that contain photos, video, fingerprints and DNA samples to help in the recovery of lost children. Participating Lodge Brothers at last week’s event were Vienna Lodge 150 members: Chesley Williams, David Rockwell, Jerry Jones, Carl Brasher, Floyd Koehler and Cobden Lodge 466 members: Joel Murray, David Harris and Gene F. Horn.

The program was designed to help in situations where a lost or abducted child’s identification could more easily be determined through these collections of photos, DNA samples, fingerprints and recorded interviews.

All of the information collected on each child is stored in a packet and given to the parents to “keep in a safe place,” Vienna Lodge 150 member David Rockwell said.  “We do not keep any of the recorded information and we encourage parents to place the packet in a lock box or with their other important papers to keep it safe.”

Rockwell said parents should continue to keep the packet current as their children grow even as the DNA and fingerprints should remain the same over the child’s lifetime.

The Masons provide the service free of charge and throughout March and April they visited each of the 12 Southern Seven Head Start facilities.

“The brothers enjoy working with the community and community-based organizations to help where we can,” Rockwell said.  Lodges throughout the state of Illinois all participate in the program, which Rockwell said began sometime in 2005.

“We’re very pleased they set this up and are here to help,” Johnson County Early Learning Center site supervisor Cheryl Gage said.

The Masons said the program would be made available to the public at the upcoming Vienna Spring Fling scheduled for May 2-4, at Vienna City Park.  Parents are encouraged to bring their children by the Mason’s booth and have a child identification kit prepared for them free of charge.

 

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