Safe Haven Baby Box at ambulance station
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
– Anne Frank
Never let it be said that children cannot make a difference. Anne Frank proved that many years ago.
Two Jasper seventh graders are proving it today.
Tori Hemmerlein and her friend, Isabella Harmon made it their mission to bring a Safe Haven Baby Box to Dubois County. The closest baby box is in Mt. Vernon. The concept was introduced in 2016 as a way for a pregnant mother with no options to make sure her baby is cared for.
The two girls made presentations earlier this year in an effort to fund-raise the approximately $15,000 needed to make it happen and worked with Memorial Hospital. They visited Ferdinand officials in February to articulate their goal and reasoning.
For Tori Hemmerlein, the issue was personal.
Tori was born on August 12, 2006 (estimated by a physician). A resident of Nanchong City found her in the emergency room on August 15 of that year. No one claimed her after an investigation and the police were contacted.
“This was me,” said Hemmerlein at the February 18 Ferdinand Town Council meeting.
“I want there to be a safe place for biological mothers like mine to be able to leave their baby with no repercussions, and know the baby will be found and taken care of.”
It has been determined that since the fire departments in Dubois County are not manned 24/7, an ideal location would be the former medical building in Ferdinand that houses Town Attorney Sharon Bohnenkemper’s office and is being retrofitted to provide living quarters for emergency personnel. Should they be out on a run the alarm would sound at the police station.
Despite the pandemic and other significant issues, plans moved forward.
This Thursday, October 15, blessing of the newly installed Baby Box will be held at the Ferdinand Ambulance Station (202 East 3rd) at 4 p.m.
Is there a need?
According to the girls’ research, in 2017 a man surrendered an infant at Jasper Memorial. That child has since been adopted.
In 2018, 20 girls from Dubois County had abortions, according to the Indiana Department of Health.
Indiana’s Safe Haven Law prevents a mother from being prosecuted for leaving her child in a Safe Haven box. The Safe Haven Baby Box offers mothers in crisis a safe, anonymous place to surrender their baby.