(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
As part of the program, known as Home Safety Heroes, parents of students attending Sikeston Headstart can sign up and have Lowe's and DPS check their homes. They will then install a smoke detector if one is needed or replace batteries.
"It is kind of an evolving thing," said George Hensley, department manager at Lowe's and leader of the project. "So far we have had over 50 people sign up and we have already installed a few smoke detectors in homes that needed them."
Hensley said he was excited about the program but also a little worried about the children.
"I was a little apprehensive at first when the fire truck pulled up," Hensley said. "I thought they might be scared, but you pull up and you see their eyes get real big and wide and they are happy to see us."
The project is part of a national Lowe's program that has been carried out on the local level since 1997. As part of the program, the Sikeston Lowe's could choose between child safety, senior safety, home safety and fire safety. Stores within each district then compete to see who has the best program.
"The winner is awarded a grant to do more for next year," Hensley said. "If we would win we could get $5,000 more to use in working with Headstart."
This year, Hensley said the number of detectors to be given has not been limited even though the project is in its first year.
"With potentially 200 students at Headstart we may get more than we can handle, but we aren't going to turn anyone away," Hensley said. "We joined forces with DPS and they also have a community outreach program similar to ours with no limits."
Hensley was quick to credit DPS and all of the help they are providing.
"We have been very fortunate to be getting help from experts like DPS," Hensley said. "They have put a lot of time and effort into this and they are getting nothing for it. They have been a real godsend."
The program should finish up sometime in mid-November and then will start again next year.
"We just don't want anything to happen like a child burning up in a house when we have smoke detectors here we are giving away," Hensley said.