How volunteering led me to make a difference in my community and within my own family

Guest Blog Post by Sandy Austin, Volunteer, Catawba County (NC) Project Lifesaver


I have been an active volunteer for Project Lifesaver for over 10 years.  I was drawn professionally as an Outreach Coordinator, and then later the ties to Project Lifesaver became more personal. I have volunteered all over the Unifour area covering multiple counties to network with each other.  As an Outreach Coordinator, I quickly saw to the need to spread the word around my community.  One of my main passions is to educate the public about the program from week to week in our churches, senior centers, local government, nursing homes, Special Olympics, School for special needs, fairs, and festivals.  Most recently in the last couple of years, I have planned and prepared multiple fundraisers to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Autism, and Down Syndrome.  The most recent fundraiser that I have planned is our Autism Dance which took place on April 5th, and following that will be the 2nd Annual Car Show fundraiser on May 11th for Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Autism.

About three years ago, my niece, Lorie Byrant talked to me about not sleeping well at night because both her sons have autism and her fear of them wandering off.  I then showed Lorie the information and the receiver and transmitter to show her how it worked.  After that Lorie wanted to put a transmitter on both Landon and Elijah, I put her in contact with Caldwell County Project Lifesaver Program, Kenneth Teague.  The program has been successful and fortunately, we have not had to conduct a search on either Landon or Elijah.  The greatest benefit is the peace of mind for Lorie, you cannot put a price tag on that.