WEIRTON - The Seeing Beyond Foundation is on a mission to outfit schools near and far with carbon monoxide detectors, something the state of West Virginia does not require by law.
Harold "Bubba" Miller, former city councilman and current owner of the Victorian Hall and Tavern, is spearheading the effort after discovering that more than 400 Americans die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.
"When I first looked into it I was shocked to find out that only four states required carbon monoxide detectors in schools by law. They are required in hotels, motels, daycares, anywhere you might sleep, but not in schools," he said. "It's a silent killer. The safety and security of our children should always be the number one priority."
DETECTOR PRESENTATION — Local business owner Harold “Bubba” Miller, far right, presented carbon monoxide detectors to the Hancock County Sheltered Workshop in Weirton Wednesday on behalf of the Seeing Beyond Foundation. Accepting the contribution is, second from left, Sheltered Workshop Executive Director Michael Hagg. They were joined by several clients of the Hancock County Shelthered Workshop. --- Shae Dalrymple
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas, and it's the leading cause of accidental poisoning in the U.S., according to the American Medical Association.
Miller donated three detectors to St. Paul Grade School last fall, and he presented the clients of Hancock County Sheltered Workshop in Weirton with theirs on Wednesday. He said Madonna and Weir High School will be next, and hopefully other schools in the county will follow.
"We're moving forward and getting support from many in Hancock County and the City of Weirton. We're placing detectors not only in schools, but also in homes for the disabled and other places like the Hancock County Workshop to protect their clients," he said.
Miller has been in contact with state and local officials trying to ignite a movement to require the detectors by law, and he said that numerous states are now considering legislation mandating carbon monoxide detectors in schools.
Michael Hagg, the workshop's executive director, agreed that the detectors should be mandatory.
"Safety is always our number one concern. We have 95 people here with disabilities who will be safer now," he said. "Mr. Miller's generosity is greatly appreciated."
First Alert has partnered with Seeing Beyond and donated enough carbon monoxide detectors to cover their goals in Hancock County, but Miller said more support is needed to take their goals "to the next level."
To donate or volunteer, contact Miller by phone at (304)723-8710 or (304)374-1144; or contact the Seeing Beyond Foundation at email@example.com or P.O. Box 2183, Weirton, WV 26062.
(Dalrymple can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)