The Pilot Club of Jackson County paid a visit to the Ripley Rotary Club Wednesday to talk about some of the Pilot Club's work in the area.
Pilot Club President Suzette Lowe and Vice President Greta Tyler were the guest speakers during a noon meeting of Ripley Rotary at the Jackson General Hospital Learning Center. The Pilot Club's key programs, including dental care, Project Lifesaver and child safety seats were among the topics discussed.
Project Lifesaver is a tracking system for people in danger of wandering away from home and becoming lost, such as those with Alzheimer's, Lowe said. Participants are fitted with a tracking device – sometimes on a bracelet but it can be attached to anything worn – and law enforcement officials can use a receiver to locate the individual if they ever become lost.
"If someone on the program wanders off, they can be located within a half an hour," she said.
The Pilot Club became involved in the program when the grandfather of one of the club members died after wandering off in winter. He wandered only about 100 yards from home, but passed away before anyone could locate him, Lowe said.
The only cost for the participant is $10 a month for a battery change.
"If, for some reason, they aren't able to pay that, we'll take care of that also," Lowe said.
Right now, only 10 people participate in the program in Jackson County.
"We know there a lot more people who could use it," Lowe said.
The Pilot Club's dental program helps people who need dental care but cannot afford it on their own, Tyler said. When the club was chartered three decades ago, a school nurse approached members after noticing many students were in need of dental care, she said. She joined the Pilot Club and the club took on the task of providing free dental care for as many people as it could afford.
Times have changed in the years since the program started, Tyler said. Improvements in state medical coverage mean that more students are able to receive dental care. As a result, the program was expanded to include adults.
There currently are 10 active participants and five others whose dental problems are nearly a thing of the past thanks to the club. Two participants are currently on the waiting list for the program, Tyler said.
The program has seen many success stories.
"It changes peoples lives," Lowe said.
Anyone interested in learning more about Pilot Club can search for Pilot Club of Jackson County on Facebook.