A missing child is a terrifying experience for parents, and gathering routine information about their son or daughter only adds to the stress.
Partnership Bank is helping parents gather that information in advance.
The bank set up its “Kid ID kit” during the eighth annual Freeze Fest Saturday in the Gold Building at Tomah Recreation Park. Bank employees collected basic information − name, nickname, gender, date of birth, height, weight, race, identifying marks (moles, birthmarks, etc.) hair color and eye color − and entered it on a tri-fold card. The card also includes an instant snapshot of the child taken on site.
“You can just pull this out and give it to the local authorities,” said Partnership Bank employee Jess Robertson. “We feel it’s really important to have this information at hand at a time of need.”
The card also includes tips for keeping children safe and steps to take if a child is missing.
Robertson said the bank processed 25 to 30 cards during the first hour. The bank has issued ID kits at other family-oriented events such as National Nite Out in August, and Freeze Fest offered a good opportunity to reach its target audience. The ID station shared the building with the inflatable Kids Zone, face painting and food and beverages.
The event was co-sponsored by Tomah Rotary Club and Tomah Parks and Recreation Department. Robert Bollig, Rotary’s Freeze Fest chairman, said 400 Freeze Fest buttons were sold and that attendance at the Kids Zone was slightly higher than last year.
However, the weather took its toll on the rest of Freeze Fest. Friday evening’s ski and snowshoe event on Lake Tomah was cancelled due to lack of snow, and when snow finally arrived Saturday afternoon, it curtailed attendance for Saturday evening’s figure skating exhibition and open skate sponsored by 7 Rivers Skating Club.
The winner of the medallion hunt was Pam King of Tomah, who followed the online clues to the Smokey Bear sign at the Chamber of Commerce building.
Bollig said Freeze Fest organizers will “brainstorm” for new ideas next year but are committed to Friday’s outdoor events.
“We’ll keep Friday night where it’s at − we’ll just hope there is more snow next year,” he said.
Parks and Recreation director Joe Protz acknowledged that much of Freeze Fest is weather dependent.
“It was a tough year for Freeze Fest, but we’ll regroup and come back next year,” Protz said.