CHICAGO (CBS) — Members of the Bensenville Fire Protection District started a program to raise funds for car seats, after a car crash in Bensenville involving five unrestrained children.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports that the rescuers were so impacted, they decided to act to save other young lives, and the community quickly came together to support the cause.
“It started with a phone conversation with our Chamber of Commerce and it grew to 250 car seats,” Mayor Frank DeSimone said.
Lt. Eugene Martin said several of the first responders have young kids themselves. “The crash involved seven persons, five were kids. So it strikes you hard,” he added.
6-month-old Jaydan Lopez died in the crash this past April.
As a result of the accident, Bensenville first responders led a drive to raise money to buy car seats, of varying sizes, with plans to donate them to those who struggle to afford the protection for their children. Additionally, instructions on how to safely install the car seat will be provided to ensure all precautions are taken.
“The Chamber of Commerce and all our partners are proud to take part in this initiative,” said Pete Gallagher, president of the Bensenville Chamber of Commerce. “We believe it is our responsibility as members of this community to support those who are less fortunate and protect the well-being of the children of this community.”
DeSimone said that everybody wanted to get involved. “Nobody wanted to say no. Residents jumped on board, the business community jumped on board. It was amazing. It actually gives me goose bumps.”
The hope is that the next crash involving children will have a different outcome. “So they can grow up and become firemen themselves,” Lt. Martin said.
“That’s our precious cargo,” Mayor Frank DeSimone said. “We’re a family. When one of us hurts, we all hurt. When one of us needs help, we step up.”
The first responders will give away 80 car seats in Bensenville on Saturday. People have already signed up to pick-up those seats, but there will be other giveaways in coming weeks.
According to a study by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, of the children under 12 killed in car crashes two years ago, 35 percent were not wearing car seats.