It’s a parent’s worst nightmare – having your child go missing.
Although no one wants to think about such a frightening circumstance, parents up and down the Okanagan valley now have a new tool at their fingertips to help if such a nightmare were to occur.
Bannister has teamed up with Operation Kidsafe to offer a free fingerprinting service.
In Vernon, both Bannister Honda and Bannister GM are designated fingerprint stations for at least the next year.
“It’s quick, easy, in and out and there’s no selling of cars,” said Pat Loehndorf, Bannister Honda general manager.
As the first kid to try out the fingerprinting station in Vernon Wednesday, seven-year-old Cruz Payeur can attest that the process is quick and painless.
It took only minutes for Payeur to get each of his fingers scanned and his photo taken. Then he and his mom were handed a bio-document, which can assist the RCMP in the event of the unthinkable.
“I would keep this at home in a safe spot and when I travel I would take it with me,” said mom Mary-Jo Payeur, of Bannister. “And I would update the photo every year.”
Kirstie Blanleil, Okanagan Boys and Girls Club Vernon director, is pleased to see the service available to North Okanagan families.
“Clearly this is an amazing resource which we need to take advantage of,” said Blanleil. “It gives parents piece of mind.”
Area politicians are equally pleased to see such a valuable service offered to the community.
“Anything that makes them safer is a great thing for our community,” said Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky.
Following a few frightening incidents in his community in the past, Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper adds: “Children are our greatest asset and you never know when you’re going to need this service.”
Operation Kidsafe has been in operation for 13 years and has safeguarded over 1 million children so far in Canada and the U.S.
Founder Mark Bott, a long-time child safety advocate, is dedicated to keeping kids safe.
“This is where we’re going to out network the bad guys.”
And Bannister is pleased to assist.
“It’s part of our commitment to make this community a better place to live,” said Loehndorf.