In a time when 113,400 children between the ages of 6 and 11 are missing in the United States, the Mason Lodge in Teller County is part of a nationwide project to be part of the solution.
Four times a year, the Masons issue child ID packets that include photographs, fingerprints, fingernail clippings and hair roots. “It helps the sheriff's office if, God forbid, there is a missing child,” said Paul Thies, who heads up the project in Teller County.
The service is free and the packets stay with the parents. “This is information that is readily available and instantly grabbed when the parents are under stress,” Thies said.
Parents are invited to renew the packet every year as the child grows and changes. “We have 9,000 lodges around the country that perform this program,” Thies said. “In the last 10 years they've produced 1.5 million packets.”
The Sheriff's open house July 12 is one of the four venues. “The Masons are a big organization that has been known to service our community in so many different areas,” said Sheriff Mike Ensminger. “The ID packets are something specific that could be a real help to the community.”
The packet includes a large version for law enforcement, wallet size to have available when traveling and information on measures parents can take to protect their children.
Commander Jason Mikesell, who has led a team that found a lost child this month, said, “The open house is a partnership through the sheriff's office; it shows a clear presence about what we are doing with the community.”
The other three venues to pick up a packet are: Family Fun Day June 7 at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, the Woodland Park Old Fashioned Fourth of July in Memorial Park, at the Sheriff's Open House July 12 and Oktoberfest in Woodland Park.
The Masons recommend changing the packets every two years.