Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

December 7, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Safe Kids Kansas Presents 2010 Awards

Safe Kids Kansas presented their annual awards in a ceremony today at the Kansas National Education Association in Topeka.  The prestigious Dr. Dennis Cooley Award of Excellence, named in honor of pediatrician Dr. Dennis Cooley of Topeka, was presented to Pete Bodyk of Topeka. Bodyk serves as traffic safety manager for the Kansas Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Safety and Technology. 

Over the past 10 years, Safe Kids and the children of Kansas have been the beneficiaries of Pete Bodyk’s successful efforts in bringing Kansans a booster seat law, graduated drivers licensing and a primary seat belt law.  Through his support of education and enforcement efforts across the state, seat belt usage rates for children increased from 61 percent in 2004 to 77 percent in 2010.  Particularly, we have seen the seat belt rate for children ages 5 to 9 jump from only 50 percent in 2004, to 76 percent today.  Bodyk and his office at KDOT continue to support the efforts of Safe Kids Kansas through the Bucks for Buckles and Buckle Up programs.  They also assist with financial and educational support to child passenger safety inspection stations across Kansas.  Bodyk’s dedication to protecting Kansas families on our roadways and vision for a safer future, bring great credit to him and his profession as a safety advocate.

“We recognize Pete Bodyk for his outstanding leadership and vision in the area of child and adult passenger safety.  We are grateful for his support of Safe Kids Kansas and his contributions toward our shared mission -- to prevent accidental injuries and death to Kansas children,” said Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas.  

Safe Kids Kansas also recognized one local coalition, two individuals and a task force of coalition members for their outstanding service.

“These organizations and individuals have made significant contributions to the mission of Safe Kids Kansas, and it’s our privilege to honor them,” said Sage. 

Additional award recipients include:

Service Recognition Awards were presented to two individuals who have worked to provide injury prevention education to families in Kansas; Richard Ross and Kathryn Woolbright.

Richard Ross is an outstanding volunteer for Safe Kids Geary County and the community.  Ross teaches children about fire safety and weather safety through school and community based events in Geary and the surrounding counties.  Ross is especially passionate about preventing child-set fires, which resulted in the development of a Y-FIRE program (Youth Fire-safety Intervention Resources Education) in Geary County.  The program brings together fire departments, burn victims, court systems and nurses to participate in helping kids understand the dangers of fire setting behavior.

Kathryn Woolbright is a bright and energetic advocate for injury prevention.  In her role as a traffic safety specialist through the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office (KTSRO), she has developed many programs for youth education about traffic safety, including a classroom-based curriculum for pre-teens called SafetyBreaks! that includes an interactive video game to test the students’  knowledge of traffic safety.  Woolbright provides public education, training and support to other individuals and groups across the state. 

The Local Coalition of the Year award for 2010 was presented to Safe Kids McPherson County.   Safe Kids McPherson County embraces opportunities to engage and educate their community on injury prevention in multiple injury areas, including child passenger safety, bicycle and pedestrian safety.  They have incorporated injury prevention into local festivals and community events, and their efforts have been supported through robust partnerships and use of community resources.  The successful programming and partnerships achieved by Safe Kids McPherson County have resulted in positive community impact.  The lead agency for Safe Kids McPherson County is the McPherson Emergency Medical Services and the coalition coordinator is Tammie Henson.      

The Outstanding Partnership for Child Safety Award was presented to a task force of individual coalition members centering on the issue of Safe Sleep:  Vicki Collie-Akers, Marie Triechel, Gayle Anderson, Melissa Hoffman and John Drees from Safe Kids Douglas County, and Christy Schunn from the SIDS Network of Kansas.  The Safe Sleep committee was formed to create an educational tool to inform parents and caregivers about safe sleep guidelines for babies.  Through many hours of research and development, a comprehensive, multi-cultural video was produced.  An accompanying website was launched to help promote and expand the viewership of the video,  Copies of the video are currently being distributed across the state to birthing hospitals, home visitors, child care providers and Safe Kids coalitions.

Additionally, Cherie Sage, Coordinator of Safe Kids Kansas, was presented the ”Outstanding State Coordinator,” one of the National Safe Kids Champion Awards.  She is one of 44 state Safe Kids coalition coordinators and was presented her award by Norraine Wingfield, outgoing Chair of Safe Kids Kansas Board of Directors.

For more information about Safe Kids, visit and

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of over 70 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14.   Local coalitions and chapters cover Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Butler, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Geary, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Kiowa, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Pottawatomie, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Smith, Sumner, and Wilson counties, as well as the city of  Emporia and the Metro Kansas City Area (Wyandotte county and several Missouri counties.)  Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

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