By Paul Bello, Belvoir EagleMay 13, 2010
The 249th Engineer Battalion held a Safety Day at Castle Park Saturday for Soldiers, civilians and family members of its Headquarters and Headquarters Company.
Staff Sgt. Patrick Thomas, who serves as a Prime Power supervisor, organized the event and said it was also open to students from its Prime Power School and anyone else in the community. He said its intent was to reinforce the value of safety to families and children.
Members of Fort Belvoir's Police Department, and fire marshal John Weaver, were on hand to talk about safety tips in and out of the home. Cecil Starkey, a traffic enforcement officer with the Fairfax County Police, was joined by fellow safety officer Beth Benham.
Together, they helped folks aboard the department's seatbelt convincer, which simulates an accident at a speed of five mph.
"Even at that speed, individuals are subject to a whole rash of injuries," Benham said. "That's why we can't emphasize wearing a seatbelt enough, particularly to young people. It can not only prevent lifelong injuries, but can save someone's life."
Benham, who almost lost her life from a car accident nearly 25 years ago, said approximately 58 percent of all teenagers killed last year were not wearing seatbelts. Starkey, who is a retired Air Force officer, said occasions like this not only help Fairfax County get the word out about safety, but does the community good in knowing a little more.