Children’s lives saved because a stranger cared | NevadaAppeal.com

Children’s lives saved because a stranger cared

by Kim Riggs

I am going to address the recent case of a person who, by a random act of noticing, may have saved two Carson City children’s lives.

Most people know I write this column to keep the community informed on what fundraisers are coming up, what events you can help with or attend to raise money, and how you can help others. However, Monday through Friday, I am the Carson City School District’s homeless advocate and have the great job of helping children in need.

Those children are living on the river or in a motel and sleeping on the floor because there is only one bed. I also help children who have been taken into state custody for their safety. It happens everywhere in our country, but when it hits in your own back yard, like it did last week, it is a wake-up call.

I want to first thank the woman who took the time to act; her actions of taking the time to notice saved these two children. She is a true hero, and I know she is saying to her co-workers, “I just thought there was something wrong that a little girl would be pushing a grocery cart during the middle of the day.” How many times do we see things and think, “I do not have time,” or “That’s wrong,” but we are late to work and it goes right out of our minds. Take the time – it saved two lives on Thursday.

What is also great about living in Carson City is that when we have a problem, especially with children, we come together to make a difference. We have done that again, with so many people dropping items off at the hospital for the imprisoned children. However, after being in conditions such as those children without any type of stimuli, things have to be slowly reintroduced. The children have to gradually become re-accustomed to sound, colors and touch to develop the senses they have been denied for so long.

The young girl asked for a birthday party and wants to watch “Harry Potter” movies. In time, she will be able to because I know those children have us all right behind them.

The Carson City Sheriff’s Department has set up a special account to help the children. The nightmare they have experienced and, by the grace of God, lived through is going to be there for years. First-responder Deputy Dan Gonzales and every department member who has been with these children is never going to forget what they saw. They are going to personally see that the children get anything they want. Instead of all of us going to get “Harry Potter” movies and a television with a CD player, let’s put money into this fund so when the time comes, they can have these items.

The thing I have heard repeatedly is that confinement did not break that girl’s spirit. She wants to learn and be free. She knew she would be free someday, and thanks to a complete stranger, she and her brother are now.

A ton of praise is due to the Carson City Sheriff’s response team and the new, innovative human service program, in which Sheriff Kenny Furlong has been training deputies to respond in preventive ways and assist people to get help. The program is called CAAN, or Carson Agency Action Network. Its motto is, “Together we CAAN make a difference.” In addition, the officers trained in the program are first on the response to help an abused elderly person, find shelter for a homeless woman, and not just taking a child back to a home, but investigating what that child’s statements are. Call the Sheriff’s Department to find out what you can do to help at 887-2020.

On the back of the CAAN cards deputies hand out are these numbers:

Carson City Health & Human Services: 887-2110

FISH Emergency Shelter: 882-8448

24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 748-8090

Elder Protective Services: 688-2964

Advocates to End Domestic Violence: 883-7654

Child & Family Services: 687-4943; to file reports of neglect and abuse after hours call 887-2020

Carson City Sheriff’s Chaplin: 887-2008

Cut this out and put it in your purse, wallet or glove compartment. If you see something odd, suspicious, or it just does not seem right, call. I cannot tell you how grateful that little girl must feel that someone took that moment to save her and her brother’s life.

— If you would like your information included, contact Kim Riggs at kimriggs@att.net.