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Cookout to raise funds for safety town

Article originally posted by Hannah Berns, Staff Writer - Journal-News


In the wake of a tragedy, two Butler County grandparents have made it their mission to promote fire safety and prevention to the youngest members of the community.

Susan and Jim Butler lost her three grandchildren in a West Chester Twp. apartment fire in 2007.

Aubrey, 7; Alex, 5; and Braden, 3, died when smoke alarms failed to wake the family and alert them of a fire.

The Butlers, of West Chester Twp., keep their grandchildren’s legacies alive through the 3 Little Halos Fund.

This weekend, the organization will host Party on the Patio to raise money for a permanent safety town in West Chester Twp. The fundraising event takes place Sunday, June 23, at Back Porch Saloon, 9626 Princeton Glendale Road.

“It’s a huge project,” Susan Butler said. “We want to make a miniature town with real-looking buildings, paved streets and working street lights.”

Kristy Duritsch, executive director of Safety Council of Southwestern Ohio, said safety towns like this one are extremely beneficial in educating young children about some of the dangers of the world.

“It’s about making them aware of their surroundings because once they start school mom and dad won’t be with them 24/7,” she said. “The lessons they learn at safety town sink in and stay with them.”

“It’s a perfect legacy for them,” Susan said of her grandchildren. “The main thing we hope to achieve is to remember our grandchildren and promote safety for children so that they don’t have to rely on others around them.”

Through past events, 3 Little Halos has raised more than $100,000 to purchase teaching tools for the West Chester Fire Department.

“The mission of our fire department is to educate everyone on fire safety,” said Barbara Wilson, township spokeswoman. “Tools that organizations like 3 Halos provide make teaching the public more effective.”

Previous donations from 3 Little Halos to the West Chester Fire Department include a digital fire extinguisher and Sparky’s Hazard House, an interactive house that simulates a different hazard, such as falling asleep with a lit cigarette, touching live wires while in a bathtub or a dryer catching on fire.

The fund has also provided a 10-foot inflatable fireman to help teach children that firefighters are not scary.

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