On Monday, February 23, 2015, 21-month-old Sawyer White passed away when his Belleville, Kansas, home caught fire. A week and a half after the heartbreaking loss, Sawyer’s parents Danielle and Chris White contacted the American Red Cross to get involved in the Home Fire Campaign and participate in an upcoming smoke alarm install project happening in their community.
“When I heard about the American Red Cross coming to town to put smoke detectors in homes, I wanted to be a part of it, “ said Danielle. “It feels good to do it for somebody else. It gives me hope that if they were to have a fire, there’s a fighting chance for them to get out and be okay and save their family.”
On Saturday, March 14, Sawyer’s parents met with Char DeWitt, Red Cross gift planning officer and Kim Brown, a volunteer and donor. The team of four joined 41 volunteers to install nearly 100 lifesaving smoke alarms and replace batteries in current alarms.
The Whites said it is important for others to hear their story and to be part of the campaign to help somebody else prevent the loss they had.
“I’m grateful that the American Red Cross is helping people do this, because in the lives that we live nowadays everybody is so busy,” said Danielle. “They don’t want to take the time to stop and take five minutes to put up a smoke detector. I would have rather taken hours to put up a smoke detector than gone what we’ve gone through.”
The White family is hopeful that by sharing their story, others will prepare.