Many Individuals Helping Individuals

by Janet Heim

The late Linn Hendershot, a longtime advocate locally for those with disabilities, was instrumental in bringing the national tracking program to Washington County in 2006 through a nonprofit called Many Individuals Helping Individuals, or MIHI.

For several years, Washington County emergency services personnel have been spared countless hours searching for local residents with cognitive disorders who are prone to wandering.

“Project Lifesaver is a program of pro-active involvement and specialized rescue operations where trained personnel respond to incidents involving persons with autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome and other related neurological disorders,” according to the brochure

Since 2006, 85 clients have been enrolled in the program in Washington County, at no charge. There are currently 47 clients, with several pending.

Most of the referrals come from 911, law enforcement and Washington County Public Schools.
Twenty times since 2007, Project Lifesaver clients have gone missing. Each time, they were found.
Washington County Division of Emergency Services employees Kevin Lewis, the director of training and quality assurance, and Bardona Woods, the assistant director of communications, are both on the MIHI board.
Woods is the coordinator for Project Lifesaver. Lewis is one of the electronic search specialist trainers.
Lewis said the program allows the client to maintain a healthy life, while easing the worry of family and caregivers. “It’s a little safety cushion,” he said.

Information about Project Lifesaver can be found by calling 240-313-4397, emailing ProjectLifesaver@mihi.org or going to https://projectlifesaver.org.