FLEMINGTON, NJ - Borough police officers are “ticketing” children this summer for wearing their helmets.
Children spotted wearing helmets while bicycling, skateboarding or rollerblading will receive the “tickets,” which are gift cards for various goodies from several local sponsors.
Kids in need will receive a voucher for a helmet, donated by #SafeSummer sponsors.
“Helmets are important to wear because not wearing them is the most common cause of death and serious injury among bicyclists,” said Lt. Jerry Rotella, who was born and raised in the area,
Rotella said Flemington police are happy to be a part of the #SafeSummer program because it “allows us to have positive contact with the community.”
The #SafeSummer Program was the creation of Dr. Michele Blood, a local freelance writer with a penchant for community service, and Milissa Swingle, an entrepreneur and mom who works at Sanofi in Bridgewater. The Flemington pair teamed up with Flemington Community Partnership’s Judy Goodwin to bring the initiative to local kids.
“I am so impressed with Michele and Milissa,” said Goodwin. “Within a few short weeks, these two determined volunteers organized and executed the entire initiative with the support of the Flemington Police Department, Hunterdon Medical Center, SafeKids NJ, and several restaurants.”
Blood has served on Flemington's Creative Team, volunteered at Flemington DIY, coordinated a local 24-hour NaNoWriMo "write in" for aspiring novelists, and spearheaded a project to bring a community funded "We Love Flemington" banner to town.
“I took on this project after a noticing an increase in traffic accidents in and around the borough,” Swingle said. “With the summer coming, I wanted to reach out to ensure safety of our youngest residents.”
"We were overwhelmed by support from local businesses, organizations, and individual citizens,” Blood said. “Flemington is a tight knit community, and folks were quick to respond. Judy jumped on board straight away, and offered invaluable support and boundless enthusiasm for the project. We've seen support not only from mom and pop-type eateries, but also establishments like Chick-fil-A and even Hunterdon Healthcare.”
Hunterdon Healthcare, the corporate parent of Hunterdon Medical Center, in collaboration with the Flemington #SafeSummer program, will be providing free Rita’s ice and a raffle for a $200 gift card to a local bicycle shop. The raffle will be held on July 23 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the community open house for Hunterdon Healthcare’s new Urgent Care Center at 63 Church Street.
“Flemington is special. Its citizens are generous, helpful, and put their money where their mouths are,” said Blood. “They don't just say 'good luck.’ They jump in and do something tangible to help. That's why I love this town."
Sponsors for the 2016 #SafeSumer initiative include Chick-fil-A, Roy Rogers, Rita's, Matt's Red Rooster, Hunterdon Medical Center, SafeKids NJ, Rob Klebosis, Gabby's, Cocco's Cafe & Gelato, Main Street Bagel and 7-11.