Lake Norman & Mooresville

Going out to eat will help raise money for Project Lifesaver

The Denver Lake Norman Rotary Club's fundraiser, Project Lifesaver, could help keep track of Lincoln County residents who are prone to wandering off.

The fundraiser will be held Jan. 24 at Captain's Cap Restaurant in Denver. Owner Spero Stathopoulos is donating half the restaurant space and the food.

Customers can order one of four items - fish, shrimp, chicken or beef - and the salad bar. The meal will be free, but the club is asking for donations. All money raised will go toward Project Lifesaver.

The club's 60 members and law enforcement officers will participate in the event by serving and greeting customers. More important, they will spread the word about Project Lifesaver, an international program that locates loved ones who have wandered away from caretakerst.

People suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and dementia run the risk of wandering away from their homes.

If they enroll in Project Lifesaver, they will wear a personal transmitter around their wrist that emits a tracking signal. If the person goes missing, the caregiver notifies the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, and the deputies can locate them easily through the tracking signal.

Most people who wander off are found within a few miles from home, and Project Lifesaver decreases search times, according to the organization's website. The transmitters are strapped on to the person with a leather or plastic band and can't be removed.

First Sgt. Scott Burnham said the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office has receiver boxes to pick up the transmitters' signals in the district offices. The boxes can pick up signals within a 1-mile radius. The Sheriff's Department has several transmitters available, but only one has been given out.

The transmitters cost $235, Burnham said, and the Sheriff's Office charges a one-time fee of $37 for a battery tester and a $20 monthly rental free, which covers the cost of the batteries, the bracelet and any maintenance work.

Gaston and Catawba counties use Project Lifesaver and have 30 transmitters, Burnham said. He would love to have that many transmitters available in Lincoln County. Money collected by Project Lifesaver will go to buy more transmitters.

"We believe it's a win-win situation because if people wander off and they have the transmitter on, we've got the ability to find them real fast now and that saves us a lot of resources and manpower," Burnham said.