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Eastchester Death Leads To Call From County Democrats

Democrats in the Westchester County Board of Legislators are calling for increased promotion for Project Lifesaver.
Democrats in the Westchester County Board of Legislators are calling for increased promotion for Project Lifesaver. Photo Credit: File

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – In the wake of the disappearance and death of Eastchester resident Catherine “Kay” Cotter, members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators are calling for an increase in promotion for the county’s Project Lifesaver program.

Project Lifesaver utilizes radio-frequency technology to find seniors that wander from their homes. Cotter was walking along Garth Road near her property before she went missing, and was ultimately found in the Bronx River.

On Tuesday, Democratic legislators called for fast action from Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to increase promotional efforts for the Project Lifesaver program.

Greenburgh Legislator Alfreda Williams said that the county needs to increase efforts to promote the services of the program.

“These tragedies are preventable, and we have the tools and technology to keep our seniors safe,” she said. “I’m afraid that not enough of our county residents know about the availability and usefulness of Project Lifesaver. It’s time to increase the county’s efforts to promote this vital service.”

Project Lifesaver fits seniors with special battery-powered bracelets that can be worn on the wrist. If the senior wanders away from their home, both county and local law enforcement officials are able to track the radio signal to a precise location.

“No family should dread the day when one of their loved ones walks away form the home unattended and unnoticed,” Ossining Legislator Catherine Borgia said. “Every community and municipality in Westchester should know the county’s Project Lifesaver program can be counted on to help our seniors.”

According to an agreement that was reached last year, the county will spend $86,828 - $80,000 is federally funded – for ElderServe Licensed Homecare Services to run Project Lifesaver. As of August 2012, just 58 seniors were signed up for the program.

Eastchester resident Jean Connor said that she had never heard of Project Lifesaver, but would consider using it if she had elderly family members nearby.

“More people would probably sign up for the service if they had more details about it,” she said. “If a tragedy can be avoided, we should take all the steps we can to make sure it is.”

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