After a teenager raised $10,000 to install a Safe Haven Baby Box for the Seymour Fire Department in Indiana, the box has saved the life of a baby just a year later.
According to a report from CNN, “Hunter Wart, 19, spent more than a year mowing lawns and scrapping metal to raise the $10,000 needed to purchase the box.” According to his mom Julia Kwasniewski, “It was a lot of hard work. A lot of blood, sweat and tears.”
After raising the requisite amount of money, the box was installed at a Seymore Fire Station providing parents with an alternative to abandoning and leaving their babies to die.
Last week, firefighters were alerted by the box’s alarm system leading them to find the newborn baby in the box. They provided care for the newborn until an ambulance arrived.
“We are ecstatic that the system was used. It worked perfect, exactly how it was designed to work,” Fire Chief Brad Lucas told CNN.
The box was installed by the organization Safe Haven Baby Boxes which placed its first box in Indiana in 2016. The organization also operates a 24-hour hotline that women in crisis can call to receive help. The Safe Haven website notes that, “the hotline has received close to 4,000 calls from every state in the United States. The organization has referred over 500 women to crisis pregnancy centers, assisted in 6 adoption referrals, and have had 59 legal Safe Haven surrenders.”
The founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes is Monica Kelsey who started the organization after learning that she was abandoned as an infant.
Prior to the installation of the first safe haven box in 2016, two to three babies were abandoned and left to die in Indiana each year. “These babies were left in trash cans and dumpsters. One was left at the door of a hospital. That baby had frozen to death before he was found,” Kelsey told CNN.
Since the first safe haven box was installed in Indiana, no babies have died due to abandonment in the state.
All 50 states have some form of safe haven laws which allows for a parent to leave their newborn baby at a designated area with no criminal penalties. The goal of the law is to save the lives of newborns who otherwise would have been left for dead.
For his effort in installing the safe haven box, Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson presented Wart with a lapel pin in a press conference honoring him. The only thing Wart asked for in return is for the child to be named “Baby Mia,” which the press has called the baby in news reports ever since.
Wart isn’t finished however and is now raising money to purchase a second box for the city.
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Photo from Safe Haven