(Ethete, Wyo.) – Over 400 people showed up to gather information from nearly three dozen representatives from 19 tribal, federal, state, county and non-profit agencies Wednesday at the Wind River Summer Safety Fair held at the Ethete Powwow Grounds.
Among the highlights of the Safety Fair were demonstrations of the Wyoming Highway Patrol’s rollover crash demonstrator, which used life-sized dummies to show what happens to vehicle occupants when a rollover occurs. The demonstration is meant to promote the use of safety restraints in vehicles by all passengers.
Injury Prevention Resources provided seven certified car seat technicians who performed 16 inspections and distributed 15 new child car seats free of charge to families in need of them.
Earl Gatlin and Nathan Backus, both from the local U.S. Probation and Parole office and who both helped to organize the event under the Tribal Re-entry Program, said they wanted to bring information on services available locally, “not only to our clients, but for the community as a whole,” Gatlin said. “The Shoshone and Arapaho Tribal Transportation Department provided the large tent, which certainly helped us promote the Safety Fair because it is so visible.” Gatlin said the event was a real collaborative event that brought many agencies and programs together.
As an example, Gatlin said Wyoming State Parks provided a number of ATV helmets to give away, Injury Prevention Resources provided bicycle helmets, Encana Oil and Gas (USA) lent us their big barbecue grilling unit and Walmart provided four certificates for free bicycles.
Each visitor to the site could register, allowing them to be in the running for the various free drawings throughout the afternoon and to get a meal ticket for hamburgers or hotdogs.
Big John Smith, the Tribal Transportation Director, said they were able to help create awareness for the event and were handing out ATV flags and other information. Thankful that ATV and Bicycle helmets were available at the fair, Smith said there is currently “no provision in the Tribal Traffic Code that would require helmets for ATV riders or bicyclists,or pertaining to ATVs and bikes in general, and that’s why were are here to try to help keep people safe by creating awareness.” Noting that an ATV crash earlier in the week near Great Plains sent two people to the hospital, he said something is needed to address that problem.
On a related safety note, Smith said weed cutting alongside reservations roads is starting to help with visibility issues along the roads. “The weeds are getting high and it’s time to cut them,” he said.
One of the big attractions at the safety fair was a demonstration by the Fort Washakie Fire Department and a unit from Battalion 1 in Riverton who used the Jaws of Life to cut apart two vehicles. They also demonstrated other safety equipment, and all the kids who showed up got a Junior Firefighter sticker and a plastic firefighter helmet at the State Farm Insurance Fire House–a bouncy house for the younger kids to play in.
Tom Cunningham, the safety education coordinator for IPR, said the entire event was organized to “help make it safer out here.” Cunningham credited Fremont Ford in Riverton, the Safe Kids Worldwide program, WYDOT, the Wyoming Highway Patrol, State Farm and the individual tribal councils for sponsoring the event.
The event was presented by the Tribal Re-entry Program (TRiP) and sponsored by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Joint Business Council, the Joint Tribal Transportation Department, Injury Prevention Resources, the U.S. Probation Office and the Ft. Washakie Fire Department. Many other partners came together to plan and sponsor the event. There were 32 representatives from 19 Tribal, federal, state, county and non-profit agencies at the event. They provided information and giveaways. Over four hundred hamburgers and hot dogs were served.
“It was a great day thanks to a collaborative community effort,” Cunningham said.
The Tribal Re-entry Program is a partnership between Tribal, non-profit, and Fremont County agencies and organizations and the U.S. Probation Office and is designed to help offenders returning to the Wind River Indian Reservation successfully transition into the community. Many different agencies and organizations on the WRIR have offered their services and resources to this program. The goal is to offer offender focused activities which will assist individuals in overcoming obstacles they may face upon returning home. Helping the individual helps the community. Another goal of TRiP is community outreach. The Wind River Summer Safety Fair marks the fourth event sponsored by TRiP in the last year. The events have been well received and have been open to the community, according to the sponsors.