Safe America Vice Chairman Jeff Turner hosted a meeting recently for the Foundation’s ‘Safe Communities’ Task Force. The outcome: support from a variety of public and private partners who all expressed a desire to ‘join in’ Safe America multi-pronged safety and health agenda.
Mr. Turner – whose ‘day job’ is serving as Chairman of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners – thanked leaders from the ‘Aerotropolis’ area surrounding Atlanta’s Airport for their attendance as well as others from Fulton, Henry, Clayton and the City of Atlanta.
Attendees included Georgia Power Executive Lisa Smith; the executive directors of the Airport Chamber of Commerce and the Clayton County Chamber; plus, Safe America Board members Bob Schurke, Michael Hightower and Gordon Sherman.
“Whether it’s expanding ‘Brain Camp’ this fall for youth; helping veterans; or, fighting human trafficking, our goal is to coalesce Atlanta’s Southside,” said CEO Len Pagano. “Thanks to Jeff Turner’s leadership, we’ve built a strong base and will continue to expand it over the coming months.”
Another project that was saluted was Safe America’s work with the Clayton County Police Department to train young drivers. Captain Brian Danekes and Office Eddie Soto jointed Mary Lou and Len Pagano in ‘test driving’ a computer simulator training. The simulator is part of a Southside ‘Driver Training Center’ that was co-established in 2003 by Clayton County with Safe America.
“We’re proud of our strong ties on Atlanta’s Sousthhside,” Pagano said. “We look forward to continuing to develop new relationships as well as honoring those who have been with us over the years such as John Stephens, Alan Vigil, Luvenia Jackson and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.”
14 years ago, Destiny Welsh earned honors as the ‘Safest Kid in America.’ This past month, however, Destiny has a new accolade – college graduate! 21-year-old Destiny recently completed her degree at Marymount University. While pursuing a career in health education and promotion, Destiny returned to her ‘safety roots’ to offer insights to Safe America CEO Len Pagano on how to engage today’s Millennials in safe behavior. Destiny met in Washington, D.C. with Len and offered to look at how social media might be engaged. Her original artwork from the 2002-03 ‘Safest Kid in America’ contest – “United we Stand; I feel safe holding your hand” was framed and is on display in the Foundation’s Atlanta offices.
Safe America conducted the ‘Safest Kid in America’ contest for over 10 years from 1997-2009. The program, originally sponsored by Campbell’s Soup, Holiday Inn and Delta Air Lines, was revived in 2013 and is looking to be expanded over the next school year. Boys and Girls Clubs of America was a partner in launching the program, with current Board member Frank Sanchez helping engage students coast-to-coast. Mr. Pagano met recently with Youth Service America CEO Steve Culbertson in Washington, DC. and will present an idea for engaging YSA the Medical Reserve Corps this fall.
Visits last week on Capitol Hill ended with the Safe America Foundation suggesting a study to consider how to speed airline security – both the speed of check-in as well as the screening of dangerous materials.
Safe America President & CEO Len Pagano met with Congressional Leaders, hearing growing concern that TSA needs to add over 750 new employees to speed airline check-in screenings. At the same time, concern over the talent of TSA employees was raised, noting that TSA needs to have people that are more than just ‘baggage handlers.’
“We’ve heard numerous cases of guns, knives and other dangerous objects clearing TSA check-points,” Pagano noted. “We can’t merely speed the process – we need to make sure the screening process is adequate, also.”
Pagano noted that the Foundation will continue discussions this summer, offering its input and assistance to study the issue.
“As a non-profit dedicated to safety, we stand by, ready to assist in studying this issue,” Pagano noted. “Safe America has a history of working with both DHS and the airline industry and would be proud to assist in assessing ways to help TSA enhance its performance.”
Among those Pagano met with before Memorial Day were Congressman David Jolly (seen in lower left) and Senator Bill Nelson, both from Florida.
United Nations to host August 25 Safe America Meeting
The WorldSafe Initiative – a program launched by Safe America – is planning an August 25 briefing in New York at the UN. CEO Len Pagano visited yesterday with UN BCMU Chief Christine Bendel to review plans for the briefing. Topics to. be covered include disaster readiness, human trafficking and cyber security. Members of Safe America’s Board of Directors will be among attendees along with national and international collaborators. Space is limited; to RSVP, contact Joe. Caprara at (770)-384-7937.