FISH of SANCAP, with United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, invite the community to a ReUnite Scent Kit workshop on Sept. 28, 2021, beginning at 11:00a, at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. Due to the COVID pandemic and out of an abundance of caution for our community, all attendees must wear a mask throughout the entire presentation and adhere to social distance guidelines.
The goal of The United Way ReUnite Program is to aid first responders in search and rescue operations for individuals, particularly those that are at-risk with cognitive disabilities and who may be prone to wandering or getting lost, through use of a scent kit. The program is a community-based collaborative effort between the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and United Way, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to improving the quality of life in our community.
Scent kits will be provided complimentary to participants wishing to obtain one. The process is easy and uses a scent swab that can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 10 years.
Prisca Mendez Asaro, Program Manager, United Way will introduce the program. Prisca graduated from the University of Arkansas with interdisciplinary studies in Communications, Journalism and Social Work. Says Prisca, “I know all too well the worry of what might happen to a loved one with a cognitive disability.” Asaro’s mother, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, has wandered from home a few times. “The scent kit can reduce emergency response time when attempting to locate and reunite loved ones with family members.”
When someone goes missing, the single most important factor is time, and ReUnite has the ability to reduce search time. Information is accessible to law enforcement in seconds rather than the minutes it takes to gather information. The scents are introduced to the Lee County Sheriff’s K9 Bloodhounds who have the ability to catch the scent hours or days later, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The multi-layered approach, uses both the latest technology, as well as the oldest practices that have proven to be most effective when searching for missing persons. GPS, drones and helicopters combined with highly-trained bloodhounds utilize Scent Evidence K9 pads, already containing the missing individual’s scent, to begin tracking. Bloodhounds supplied to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office by the Jimmy Ryce Center are specifically trained to track over great distances. So far this year, two missing and endangered children have been reunited with their families thanks to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office’s K9 Murphy and the ReUnite program.
FISH is looking forward to sharing this amazing workshop and resource to community members. For additional information on the FISH organization and their programs and services, please contact Alicia Tighe Orgera, Executive Director at 239-472-4775 or visit their website at www.fishofsancap.org.