Haughton student's project aims to aid police
Haughton High senior Kellie Abbott received more than an A on her senior project.
Abbott, 17, was announced as one of Louisiana's top youth volunteers of 2013 Tuesday for her Blue Forever project, which raised more than $6,700 through a T-shirt fundraiser to supply local police departments with special anti-bleeding kits to increase their odds of surviving a traumatic wound. The award comes from the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a national program honoring middle and high school students for outstanding volunteer service.
Abbott got the idea for the trauma kits last summer after reading a news article about them and was intrigued by their life saving capabilities for soldiers and police officers. It was then that she wondered if the kit could have made a difference and saved the life of family friend and Shreveport Police Sergeant Tim Prunty, a 19-year veteran who bled to death from a gunshot wound to the leg while on duty in Oct. 2010.
"Police officers like Sergeant Prunty go to work each day just like we do and they deserve to have every piece of safety equipment available to make sure they return home each night," Abbott said.
Each Belt Trauma Kit (BTK) contains gloves, a CPR shield, SWAT-T pressure tourniquet and QuikClot Combat Gauze LE, a flexible material used to temporarily control traumatic external bleeding. Abbott said she had experience raising money through T-shirt sales at school for various clubs, so she decided to design her own shirt and sell it.
“I felt it was important to make an impact on law enforcement safety,” she said. “I learned about QuikClot hemostatic gauze and how it can slow down traumatic bleeding until an individual can receive medical treatment.”
With approval from local police officials, Abbott kicked off her Blue Forever project – working with project mentor Mike VanSant, meeting with a printing company, creating a Facebook event page and speaking to dignitaries and groups in the community to publicize the T-shirt sale.
By the end of her sale, she sold 447 shirts and purchased 74 QuikClot kits. In return, Z-Medica Inc., donated 26 additional kits to give Abbott 100 total kits for the Shreveport Police Department.
“Through this fundraiser I realized that a little idea can balloon into a life changing moment,” Abbott said. “I will always be able to carry with me that with a little ingenuity, hard work, and an idea that we can all make an impact on someone else’s life just like Sergeant Tim Prunty did everyday by just doing his job.”
Abbott has continued her Blue Forever project even after receiving her final grade. The current T-shirt fundraiser will help buy trauma kits for the Bossier City Police Department.
“The Bossier City Police Department is grateful for Kellie’s generous life saving gift and proud of her dedication to law enforcement,” Bossier Police Chief Shane McWilliams said. “She is a very special young lady and we will always be appreciative of her support.”
Funds have already paid for 11 kits, which Mark Natale, city public information officer, said will be given to members of the SWAT team to put in their patrol vehicles.
“By having these kits available on the streets, our officers can put them to use to help stop severe life-threatening bleeding especially if the victim is a fellow officer,” Natale said. “We hope our officers will never have to utilize the kits but it is nice to know that we now have some available thanks to Kellie’s hard work and dedication.”
Abbott said she would also like to see a law that would require kits in all patrol cars in the state.
"Louisiana state law requires each officer to receive a bullet proof vest costing approximately $1,000," Abbott said. "A small QuikClot kit would only cost $60 and could be an important lifesaving tool."