Bedford Fire Department Safe Haven Baby Box offers “No Shame, No Blame, and No Names”

BEDFORD – Bedford Fire Department now houses the 72nd Safe Haven Baby Box placed in communities across the nation, the 63rd in the State of Indiana according to Monica Kelsey of Safe Haven Box Inc. and many more will be established throughout the country.

Monica Kelsey, Safe Haven Box Inc.

Kelsey was abandoned as an infant and is committed to installing more Safe Haven Baby boxes to lower infant abandonment.

In Kelsey’s closing remarks she told the crowd – “This box offers no shame, no blame and no names.”

Monica Kelsey’s comments

This project took a while to complete, but after Friday’s ceremony, Bedford now has a resource available to women in need.

Bedford Mayor Sam Craig told the crowd he has been interested in providing to the community for a very long time, prior to even becoming mayor.

“Today is a great day in Bedford, Indiana, I often thought about a baby box in the City of Bedford. After being elected, I thought this was the time and opportunity to see about offering this,” said Mayor Craig.

The process was long, but Mayor Craig noted it was well worth the minor inconvenience.

Now it is important to get the message out.

“We are giving the gift of life today, we are giving the opportunity and an option for mothers. We are here to help and not pass judgment. I think is very important in society today as testimony has been given here today to what can take place and what the outcome can be,” Mayor Craig stated.

Kelsey was joined by two families, who adopted two of the abandoned babies, which included Grace Melgoza, who was baby number three surrendered from Hammond, Indiana. Also, Nola Higgs whose parents told their story to WBIW.

Mario and Jenifer Melgoza, and their child Grace
Jenifer Melgoza tells the story of Grace adoption

During the presentation, Grace was full of energy and was all smiles as were her parents. The couple longed for a child and now they have Grace, who stole the show during the celebration.

Left to right- Keegan Higgs, Jaxson McCracken, Nola Higgs, and Tessa Higgs

The Higgs family were just as happy. They adopted Nola, who was surrendered to a firefighter in Columbia City, Indiana. The mother took good care of her, and the family still has the towel she was wrapped in when she was surrendered.

Keegan Higgs telling the story about Nola

This project was not just a government project. Many partners made the Safe Haven Baby box possible, donating money, their time, and efforts to see the project completed. Some of those partners include Axom’s Flooring, Duke Energy Foundation, and Lowes.

PIctured are Bruce Calloway, Duke Energy and Bedford Mayor Sam Craig. Duke Energy Foundation gave a grant to the city in the amount of $15,000.

Duke Energy Foundation donated $15,000 grant for the project, while Pritchett Brothers helped with the installation of the box, and Axom’s Flooring worked on the trim and flooring where the Baby Box is located and Lowes donated materials for the project No government funds were used for this project.

Left to right: Jon Pritchett, Tracy Wells, and Joe Pritchett

Bruce Calloway from Duke Energy who has two adopted daughters thanked the State of Indiana for adopting the Safe Haven Law which includes surrender options such as this.

“While I would never profess, I never know what goes through a woman’s mind when making a decision to surrender her newborn, I have more than a casual understanding, and I empathize with that decision and admire the resolve to go through that process, but mostly, I appreciate the love a birth mother has for her baby when she surrenders her child,” said Calloway. “At times it may seem hopeless, but it gives the birth mother hope that her newborn will experience a happy and healthy life.”

When the baby is placed in a box, within minutes an alarm is sent to the Bedford Police Department, and then an alert is sent to the Bedford Fire Department. The room is fully equipped to keep the child warm, and supplies such as diapers, and other baby items are there to see to the child’s needs.

Bedford Firefighters will respond and render care to the infant. A firefighter will stay with the baby until the baby is thoroughly checked and is given a name band.

Should the firefighters be out on a fire call, the police department and an ambulance crew will respond to the fire department to tend to the child.

Father Jegan Peter offered scripture from Psalms Chapter 33, then prayed and blessed the baby box.

Bedford Fire Department is forever committed to this project.

“This is a special day for the fire department, this is another tool to provide to our community,” said Bedford Fire Department Chief John Hughes.