"Several years ago, I was involved in an accident with my wife and son, who at that time was 2 years old," Payson Fire Marshal Jack Babb said. "If my son had not been in a car seat, he would have flown over the top of his mother and through the windshield."
It was that near-tragic experience, Babb said, that motivated him to become the only person in town who's currently certified to teach parents and child-caregivers how to properly install child-restraint seats for maximum protection in the event of a crash.
"When car seats are properly installed," Babb points out, "there is a 37-percent decrease in child fatalities overall."
It was sobering statistics like that which prompted the Lutheran Brotherhood a helping-hand organization within Shepherd of the Pines Lutheran Church to create and support the Payson Fire Department Support Rehab group's new child-restraint car seat loaner program, which makes car seats available throughout the Rim country for use by needy families who meet the program's guidelines.
"The Support Rehab volunteers fronted the original $500 to buy the car seats for this program, and now, through the generous efforts of the Lutheran Brotherhood, they have been reimbursed," Babb said.
This is the second fire department safety program the Lutheran Brotherhood has supported. Last year, the organization displayed their generosity to create and financially support a bicycle-helmet use and awareness campaign.
"Being in the fire service since 1977, I've seen a lot of crashes involving children," Babb said. "One of the things I've always tried to remind the public is that they need to try to protect not only themselves, but especially their children. Because that's protecting our future."