Pictured left to right, SGMC Community Health Promotions Coordinator Marie Sims, SGMC CEO Randy Sauls, Stan Fillion, Valdosta Kohl’s Manager Diane Rodgers, Ben Blanton, VPD Officer Vernotis Williams, Jud Moritz, SGMC EMS Deputy Chief David Bauch, Jeff Hanson, SGMC Foundation President James Lee.
A breakfast was held recently at South Georgia Medical Center to celebrate the partnership between SGMC and Kohl’s Department Store and to announce their 2012-2013 initiative entitled Connecting Kids to Safety. Representing the SGMC Foundation were Ben Blanton, Nathan Brown, Stan Fillion, Jeff Hanson, Bubba Highsmith, Helen Miller, Jud Moritz and Foundation President James Lee Herndon, who accepted a donation of $44,133 for this year’s safety initiative from Valdosta Kohl’s Manager Diane Rodgers.
Since 2007 Kohl’s, through its Kohl’s Cares program, has donated a total of $208,554 from the sale of plush toys and books to the SGMC Foundation to fund health and safety outreach programs for local children. This year SGMC, with the funding from Kohl’s, will work with Safe Kids Lowndes County, a local coalition affiliated with Safe Kids USA. Locally, this group is made up of health and safety experts from SGMC, the Valdosta Police Department, Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, City and County Fire Departments, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia State Patrol and South Health District.
The coalition’s goal is to educate children and parents on safety topics such as fire safety, car seat and vehicle safety, water safety, sports safety as well as bike, helmet and street safety. SGMC Foundation Director Elizabeth Vickers said, “The funding provided by Kohl’s Department Store will make this outreach and education possible.”According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children in the United States. In this country, over 12,000 children die each year due to unintentional injuries.
Worldwide, unintentional injuries kill more than 830,000 children annually and permanently disable even more. SGMC serves a regional population of over 250,000 with approximately 25% of those being under the age of 18 and 7% of those being under the age of 5. Working with these other local organizations, SGMC hopes to provide safety education to parents and children and to reduce the likelihood of preventable deaths and injuries to the children of this region.