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Mamie Martin students receive free bike safety helmets

Representatives from the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services visited Mamie Martin Elementary students to present them with 765 free safety helmets Monday.

“We want you to have a fun summer, but also a safe summer,” Allison Lowther, a representative from the MDRS, said.

Students in kindergarten through second grade gathered to listen to Lowther speak about the importance of wearing a helmet and how it can prevent serious injury.

“Your brain is the boss of your body, and you never want to hurt it,” Lowther said as she showed students how to wear the safety helmet. “If you fall and have your helmet on, you’ll protect your brain.”

Helmets came in three sizes and students were fitted before being given their helmet.

The helmets are multisport, which means students can use them for whatever activity they participate in, whether it’s riding bikes or skating on rollerblades.

The Department of Rehabilitation began providing helmets for Mississippi students in 2010. So far, they have given away more than 175,000.

A trust fund was set up by the state Legislature in 1996 to provide funding for this program. The money is provided by fines garnered from DUI charges and moving violations, such as speeding tickets.

The Department of Rehabilitation Services has previously visited Brookhaven, and has provided helmets at five other schools.

“If we can prevent just one brain injury by providing these helmets, then it’s well worth it.” Lowther said.

The City of Brookhaven passed a helmet ordinance in 2013. The ordinance states that any child from the ages of 1 to 16 riding any sort of vehicle with wheels is required to wear a safety helmet.

“It’s really important to wear a helmet, ordinance or not,” said Alderwoman-at-Large Karen Sullivan, who helped organize the event.

She expects to give away more helmets to students in the fall, possibly at Brookhaven Elementary.

Sullivan took about 100 helmets to the Brookhaven Police Department for any student who would like one. To inquire about a helmet, call BPD at 601-833-2424.

Story by Gracie Byrne