Hundreds gather to honor first responders and support ‘Project Lifesaver’

Update Wednesday,5 p.m. The amount raised at the car show is estimated at $2,000, but actual numbers will be higher with open receipts still being processed, Darren Nuttall said.

Raffle ticket sales to win a 1954 Ford Skyliner have brought in $800 to date, and sales will continue until the car is raffled off at the 2017 First Responders Car Show by Rent and Repair Auto Complex located at 150 East 1160 South, St. George Utah, Nov. 2, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Nathan Valentine, St. George News
Raffle ticket sales to win a 1954 Ford Skyliner have brought in $800 to date, and sales will continue until the car is raffled off at the 2017 First Responders Car Show by Rent and Repair Auto Complex located at 150 East 1160 South, St. George Utah, Nov. 2, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Nathan Valentine, St. George News

Additionally, the facility that provided the venue for the show, Rent and Repair Auto Complex, brought in $800 to date selling tickets for a drawing to win a 1954 Ford Skyliner that will be given away at the 3rd Annual 1st Responders event in 2017, Nathan Valentine, co-owner of the facility said.

“We will also continue selling tickets in addition to raising money through selling “Lifesavers for a Lifesaver,” Valentine said, adding “for this highly effective program.”

ST. GEORGE — An armored tank and police escort left the Utah National Guard Armory at 6 a.m. Saturday, ushering in the “First Responders Appreciation Car Show” and carnival that drew hundreds of folks to the daylong event held at 150 E. 1160 South in St. George.

“This event allows us to show our appreciation for what our first responders do,” Darren Nuttall, operation manager and owner of Desert Sports Management, said.

Working together with Car Guys Care, event sponsors decided to honor first responders by donating a portion of the day’s proceeds to Project Lifesaver, a cause they hold near and dear.

Project Lifesaver is a unique, wearable rapid response system that helps reduce the potential for serious injury and even death for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, Down syndrome and other conditions that cause diminished mental capacity.

The Project Lifesaver unit is a metal bracelet that contains a tracking device, Nuttall said. Each individual device is synced with a tracker, which is kept at the local police department so that if the wearer wanders off or becomes lost they can be found more quickly.

Nuttall stressed that the wearable device is not a GPS but it does track the wearer, and therefore works in more unusual situations such as in water or even under a building.

More than 130 cars were on display Saturday, so many in fact that event organizers ran out of space to properly show them, Shane Dastrup, president of the Southern Utah Mustang Owners Association and a member of  Car Guys Care, said.

Hundreds of people attend the First Responders Appreciation Car Show and carnival showcasing 130 classic cars at 150 S. 1160 East in St. George Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Hundreds of people attend the First Responders Appreciation Car Show and carnival showcasing 130 classic cars at 150 S. 1160 East in St. George Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The sea of vintage beauties lining the large venue was surrounded by bounce houses, a climbing wall, numerous vendors, concessions and live music. There were also face painting booths, activities and even a miniature Hurricane City police car patrolling through the crowds.

Dastrup supported the idea behind the event originally because of the importance he places on the critical role that first responders play in the community. Despite the dangers they face, they continue to serve, he added.

“We’re trying to show these guys that we care about what they are doing for us,” said Dastrup, who has hosted numerous fundraisers over the past few years.

Project Lifesaver was first brought to the area after St. George Police Detective Derek Lewis began researching different programs or systems capable of reducing the amount of time it takes to find a missing person, thus increasing the chance for a positive outcome.

After discussing the issue with St. George Police Chief Marlon Stratton, Lewis found that Project Lifesaver provided what the department was looking for and he soon applied for grants to fund the program in St. George.

Soon afterward, other agencies in the county came on board including the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the LaVerkin City and Hurricane City police departments. The Washington City and Santa Clara/Ivins police departments separately enrolled in the program.

Currently there are about 35 clients who participate in the program and every month three to four more people are added, Lewis said.

Project Lifesaver is a valuable tool for officers tasked with finding individuals who may be lost and confused, Buell said.

A demonstration was provided by Buell and a group of officers that showed how quickly an individual can be located. Buell also mentioned that they have tested the device in 12 feet of water and it still works.

While there have been no Project Lifesaver incidents to date in Hurricane City, Buell said he has assisted in several county searches involving a missing Project Lifesaver recipient. One individual was located 17 minutes later in a location that rescuers would never have searched, he said.

Project Lifesaver brings a little bit of comfort to the families,” Buell said.

The cost of each unit varies from $300 to $350. Project Lifesaver is funded through donations and grants, Lewis said, and for individuals that fit the criteria it is provided at no cost. Additionally, there are no monthly monitoring or service charges because if an individual goes missing and police are contacted then they conduct the search using their own equipment.

“We have six agencies in Washington County on (the program) now,” Lewis said, “and we hope to get every agency involved in the program because there is a need for the service, and we are happy to provide it to them.”

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Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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4 Comments

  • Bowlinggreen123 October 29, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    Its pretty sad St George city would not allow this to take place on public property. I hope they don’t see one dime of the money raised.

    Ed. ellipsis.

  • .... October 30, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Ha ha you got edited ! Way 2 go Editor ! ☆☆☆☆☆ 5 stars ! Wooooooohoooooooooo

  • mmsandie October 30, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I never saw it advertised and I read news every few hrs.. Wish more people were there.. I,m a first responder and this is important,, of course parents should be aware where the family is too

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