Greensburg and Decatur County Officials Unveil Safe Haven Baby Box
Greensburg, IN – The City of Greensburg today unveiled and dedicated the Safe Haven Baby Box, located at the Greensburg Fire Department. It is now fully operational and ready for use. Greensburg is the 70th location in the nation to provide a Baby Box, and is the 61st location in Indiana.
Plans for creation and installation of the baby box began in 2019, spearheaded by Washington Township Trustee Christian Rust, after hearing from another trustee in a different township about having one installed at their local fire department. Fundraising began in late 2020. The Madison Mission donated a large sum for Right to Life for the purchase of the box, which was coordinated by Indiana State Representative Randy Frye.
Speakers for the unveiling and dedication included Greensburg Mayor Joshua Marsh, Trustee Rust, Fire Chief Nathan Stoermer, Safe Haven Baby Box founder Monica Kelsey, former state legislator Cleo Duncan, and representatives from Decatur County Right to Life and the family of Robert Rust. Greensburg’s Baby Box was dedicated in the memory of Robert Rust, who dedicated himself to protecting children and led Decatur County Right to Life. Rust passed in early 2020.
“We are thankful for all the efforts of Decatur County Right to Life in raising the funds for this box to be installed,” said Trustee Rust. “We also want to thank Chief Stoermer and Mayor Marsh for working with Washington Township to allow this amazing life saving device to be installed.”
“Safe Haven Baby Boxes works hard to ensure that every parent knows that this last resort option is available to them. We will not stop until every parent knows all their options including a Safe Haven surrender. We are proud to partner with Greensburg, IN which has also joined 69 other baby box locations. There is no doubt that Greensburg, IN is taking a proactive approach to infant abandonment in our country,” says Monica Kelsey.
The Safe Haven Baby Boxes organization’s primary goal is to raise awareness of the Safe Haven Law. Women in crisis can call the 24 hour hotline and can receive counseling and assistance. To date, the hotline has received close to 4,000 calls from every state in the United States. Safe Haven Baby Boxes has referred over 500 women to crisis pregnancy centers, assisted in 6 adoption referrals, and have had at least 98 legal Safe Haven surrenders.
Fire Chief Nathan Stoermer said, “the Greensburg Fire Department is delighted to provide a safe, anonymous, life-saving option for mothers and parents that are unsure of where to turn or what to do, the Safe Haven Baby Box exist for them.”
Safe Haven Baby Boxes allow a mother to surrender her newborn with 100 percent anonymity. The box has many features, including heating and cooling components, an alarm system to alert firefighters to the presence of a baby and a soft light. To date, 11 infants have been placed in Baby Boxes. Babies surrendered in Indiana under the Safe Haven Law are taken into custody by the Department of Child Services and often placed with their adoptive family within 30 days.
“Greensburg is honored to house one of the many Safe Haven Baby Boxes located in the State of Indiana,” said Mayor Joshua Marsh. “This gives women the option to safely surrender their child, without worrying about the child’s safety and keeping their anonymity. Thank you to Safe Haven Baby Box and Decatur County Right to Life for making this project a reality.”
(L to R): Mayor Marsh, Cleo Duncan, Rita Rust (wife of Bob Rust), Monica Kelsey, Chief Nathan Stoermer, Trustee Christian Rust, and Father John Meyer