Safety Village honored for work with children
Updated: July 2, 2012 9:22AM
The women in charge of the Safety Village camp for children were honored this week for their life-saving work.
Amy Satkamp Avakian, Lise Braithwaite, Melissa D’alise, Lee Rosenberg, Katie Sperry and Mandy Wichman received the Ron W. Lee, M.D., Excellence in Pediatric Care Award on Monday at the Western Springs Village Board meeting.
“Thirty years ago, a 7-year-old girl, Katie Satkamp, was killed in a tragic school bus accident. To honor the memory of (Katie Satkamp), the Satkamp family founded the Safety Village of Hinsdale,” said Dr. Mark Cichon of Loyola University Medical Center.
Cichon presented the award to the women on behalf of the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Emergency Medical Services for Children program.
“(The Satkamps) have worked to prevent a similar tragedy from happening to other families,” Cichon said.
The family first established a Safety Village in Hinsdale 29 years ago. The Western Springs Safety Village began three years ago.
Sisters Amy Satkamp Avakian and Mandy Wichman worked with friends to create the village, which teaches 5-year-old and 6-year-old children about safety and injury prevention. Through Safety Village, the children learn to make 911 telephone calls, practice safe bus procedures and learn how to escape from a fire.
The Ron W. Lee, M.D., Excellence in Pediatric Care Award is given to individuals or groups dedicated to pediatric emergency care and childhood injury prevention initiatives. The Safety Village organizers were nominated by the Western Springs Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services.
The award is named after Ron Lee, who was director of emergency medicine at Loyola University Medical Center. Lee helped establish the state’s Emergency Medical Services for Children program.
Western Springs Fire Chief Patrick Kenny said the Safety Village program is incredible.
“Thirty years ago, you had the loss of a wonderful little girl,” said Kenny, adding that some families retreat from society after the death of a child, but the Satkamps are on “a mission about saving children.”
Years before becoming fire chief, Kenny helped at Safety Village in Hinsdale, which he credited with protecting countless young lives.
“It was one of the most amazing assignments and life-changing things that ever happened to me,” he said.