The Patrick Shafer Agency in Downtown Sycamore, Illinois provides insurance to cover people’s most valued possessions. Now, to go along with their regular insurance business, they will also help parents protect their children through Operation Kidsafe, an international program begun by Springfield, Illinois native Mark Bott.
“When we opened this office [in 2013], we always wanted to do something for the community,” said Patrick Shafer. “We have been participating in Allstate’s grant foundation. This is just an extension of that.”
The local Allstate Agent hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and press conference Friday morning to announce the grand opening of their year-round child safety center. The center will provide free Amber Alert ready bio cards for local children or adults with special needs.
The program is completely free and private. The forms include a digital photo, a set of fingerprints, and spaces for parents to fill in other identifying information for their children. Forms are then ready to hand to law enforcement in a family emergency. The parent gets the only record of the visit to ensure privacy; there is no database kept. And updated photo can be attached to the document every year.
Operation Kidsafe Founder Mark Bott worked with John Walsh in the 1990’s and was also involved with starting the Amber Alert. In 18 years, Bott’s Operation Kidsafe has helped educate and protect over one million children.
The digital scanner used to produce the bio cards will be kept at the Patrick Shafer Agency, 331 W State Street in Sycamore, and will be available during their normal business hours. It can also be brought to events if requested, as long as they are available. They do not charge anything for the service; all they need is electricity and space to operate.
The Operation Kidsafe bio card system will be at the Balloons, Brews & Blues Festival at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport tomorrow (Saturday, June 21), and at the Sycamore Park District Touch-a-Truck event in October, in addition to any other events they may schedule.
“My wife and I are parents and grandparents,” said Shafer. “We’re always worried about our kids and our grandkids. This is just a way to try to take some of that concern away.”Patrick Shafer Agency Flyer Operation Kidsafe Advance