base information

Keeping children safe is a team effort

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- It's that time of year again -- the sun is shining, temps are rising and evidence of young life is reappearing in the form of toys littering backyards, bikes laying in driveways and, of course, children populating parks, yards, sidewalks and streets.

While driving safety and obeying posted speed limits is important year-round, it's even more crucial in base housing as the days grow warmer and longer.

I live in base housing with my wife and five children. I also happen to live in a corner house, next to a main street and have no fence. I will say my stress factor is heightened as the summer draws close and my children are out and about more.

It's simple physics. In a game of car versus child, the car wins every time. We all need to do our part to ensure that game is never played.

You might be able to say, "I do my part and drive 15 mph in housing."

If so, thank you. However, there are certainly those who do not. Are you willing to confront someone who is speeding? I have done so on more than one occasion. Sure it takes time and even courage to say something, but it's worth it.

The safety, and even lives, of our little ones are much more important than our pride or fear of hurting someone's feelings or making them angry. If you see someone obviously breaking the law and endangering others, say something!

Some think, "But that's security forces' job."

"You must remember that there are not enough defenders on shift at any given time to keep eyes on the entire installation," said Maj. Keith Quick, 366th Security Forces Squadron commander. "It must be a team effort, to include all military members, DOD civilians, contractors and dependants, keeping an eye out and reporting any suspicious or illegal activity. This includes traffic violations and unsafe driving habits that could endanger other motorists or pedestrians as they walk, run and play around the base."

Maybe you are thinking, "I'm not too worried, my children are older and more responsible."

What a blessing to have healthy children and to watch them grow! But, have you stopped to think about the past and how they got to where they are today? Have you considered how many people in an unknowable number of situations took time to care about your children?

Raising and keeping children from harm is not dependent solely on the parents. It takes active, positive community involvement. If you see someone else's child in danger, would you sit back and say, "Well, they're not my children"? Would you want someone to say that about your son or daughter?

The other night I had the opportunity to "counsel" a civilian pizza delivery driver who was exceeding the speed limit in housing by at least double. It was a bit awkward and I had to exercise restraint so as to present a professional Air Force image, but at the end of the day the fact is this: I have five kids. I don't want only four.

Please do your part, whether that means driving carefully at the right speed or confronting someone who is not. Taking care of Airmen and their families and keeping our children safe requires a team effort.