Volunteers near their fundraising goal for missing-person trackers


By Amaris Castillo


Dracut Volunteers Inc. announced recently that it is close to meeting its fundraising goal to raise $20,000 for trackers to be lent to individuals who can go missing, whether they’re Alzheimer’s patients or children with autism.

Fifty trackers will be loaned out by the local organization to those who qualify and Dracut Volunteers is in the process of handing over its first tracker to a Dracut father with early-onset dementia, according to Colleen Garry, president of the local organization. The man’s family has asked that he not be identified.

“This is an amazing day because I was able to speak to the wife of the husband who is going to get the tracker,” said Pat Svrcek, vice president of Dracut Volunteers. “She cannot express her gratitude to Dracut Volunteers. We’ve worked really hard to get this money, so to come here today and know that tracker’s going out within a few days, I’m hoping, has sort of been all worth it.”

Garry, who led the presser in which other officials participated, said Dracut Volunteers has entered into a contract with SafetyNet to be able to provide these trackers to individuals for free.

“This really is a community effort, and the town has been extraordinary about supporting us,” she said.

According to the company’s website, SafetyNet Tracking Systems, technology helps public-safety agencies quickly find and bring a family’s loved one home. Ralph Poland, field operations manager for SafetyNet, said the device is a radio-frequency tracking system that is worn on a person’s wrist or ankle.

“It saves lives and it saves agencies thousands and thousands of dollars in search and rescue operations,” Poland said.

The idea behind Dracut Volunteers began with the search for Kathryn Lucier, a Dracut woman with dementia who went missing in 2016 for three days before being found. The group’s original goal of raising $30,000 for the trackers was later adjusted to $20,000. Garry said the organization received great help from the Dracut Rotary Club.

Dracut Volunteers, Inc., is still waiting for its 501(c)(3) status. The organization’s mission to “inspire people to build a healthy, engaged community, promote volunteerism, and develop a sense of belonging” in the Dracut community.

Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo. Her email address is acastillo@lowellsun.com.