Soldiers, motorcycle enthusiasts unite for child safety
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Last Friday afternoon, students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade at Martin Walker Elementary School had the opportunity to learn some important tips, for both motorcycles and their own personal safety.
Several local groups, to include Bikers Against Child Abuse and the Family Advocacy Center on Fort Hood, as well as active duty military, showed up with motorcycles, chrome gleaming, and an assortment of prizes for the students.
Charlie Pruett, a father of four and a sergeant with the 4/5 ADA and a volunteer with the Patriot Guard Riders, spoke to the kids about motorcycle safety, something he said he really enjoys doing.
Pruett said visiting campuses like this is something he’s done since reentering the military in 2008. “Wherever I’m at, I try to volunteer in the community,” he said, adding that he speaks to schools because he loves kids, and his four sons are pretty much grown at ages 21, 19 and 18-year-old twins. All four are working on their motorcycling licenses.
Topics covered motorcycle safety—always wearing helmets, wearing long sleeves, and how leather can protect motorcycle riders—and then branched out into roadway safety and traveling in motor vehicles.
Lashandra Jones an advocate with the Family Advocacy Center on Fort Hood, then went over things children should know for personal safety, like knowing their full name, their parents’ names and phone numbers. She also covered some don’ts with the children, such as not playing outside alone, not swimming alone, and always having a buddy with them or another adult. The topic of not getting in a car with a stranger was also stressed.
“Kids, does that mean you should get in a car with me?” Jones quizzed them. “I mean, I told you my name, and you know me now, right?” After some questions and answers, she emphasized to the students they should not get in a car with someone, even if they “met them” and know their name.
Fourth grader Mario Rodriguez said he enjoyed the visit and the motorcycles, and learned some things he didn’t know before.
“I already know you should always have a buddy when you are at the pool,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t know that in Texas, you don’t have to wear a helmet when you are on a motorcycle; but, it’s a good idea to wear one.”
Amanda Crawley, principal of Martin Walker Elementary, welcomed the groups to the campus.
“Mrs. Sledd let us know about the opportunity for them to come to our campus. We felt it was a good idea for them to educate our students in a different way, something they haven’t heard before, she said, of course the motorcycles are very visually appealing. The kids love that.”
With the event centering around child abuse prevention, Crawley said it was another way for the school to let students know the door is always open, if they need a listening ear to let someone know they have a concern.