Junior Fair BBQ again a big success Beulah B James Senior Profile: Josie Myers Lady Indians place second at Ohio Classic in Hillsboro MVCA dominates Greyhounds in 45-0 triumph For Lady Devils, SHAC streak goes to 55 matches 9/11: Sixteen years later Gertrude Gibson Defender Bowl coming Sept. 16 Joyce A Walker Virginia R Young Senior Profile: Abby Campton West Union hosts 2017 Dragon Run New gridiron history begins for Peebles Trout, fire, and blueberry fields forever Senior Profile: Baylee Justice Lady Devils win SHAC thriller at Eastern Brown From Blue Creek to the Beaneaters Tough loss for Greyhounds in season opener Turning tragedy into hope What we learn from failure Absolutely had to get the wrinkles out Frances S Kidder Leo Trotter 41st Bentonville Festival set to begin Sept. 8 Winchester celebrates its history during three-day street fair Cruisefest returning to streets of Peebles Blue Creek- a community in transition honors its history and heritage Cuteness Galore – Winchester Homecoming Festival Baby Show Ronnie L Day Cast your vote for the Adams County Fairgrounds Nelson E Atkinson Ryan L Colvin Richard Tackett William L Tadlock Penny Pollard Wendell Beasley West Union soccer drops pair at Mason County Lady Indians go down in straight sets Senior Profile: Michael Gill Senior Profile: Katie Sandlin Royals dominate in big win over North Adams Dragons continue County Cup domination Archaeology Day returns to Serpent Mound Hourglass Quilt Square is back up again Manchester family hosts International Guests History, farming, and family- the bedrock of Cherry Fork’s community Bus drivers, emergency responders prepare for coming school year Working up a real good sweat What’s behind the motive? Rondal R Bailey Jr Thelma J Yates She’s all grown up now Scott A Yeager Soccer talent on display at 2017 SHAC preview Baseball community mourns the loss of Gene Bennett Winchester Homecoming Festival is Aug 25-27 Eleanor P Tumbleson Felicity man killed in Ohio River boating accident WUHS golfers take Portsmouth Invitational It was pretty cold that day Volleyball kicks off with SHAC Preview Night Young awarded Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship One Mistake Senator Portman visits GE Test Facility in Peebles Adams County school districts facing some major challenges for the coming year Family, friends, and roots: the ties that bind residents of one Adams County village What is your strength? Just the chance to take a look back Ronnie L Wolford Dale J Marshall Herbert Purvis Great American Solar Eclipse coming Aug. 21 BREAKING NEWS: West Union wins fifth consecutive County Cup Wallace B Boden John L Fletcher Lady Indians golfers learning the links North Adams, West Union golfers open 2017 seasons This Labor Day, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Blanton announces candicacy for Court of Appeals Local student attends Congress of Future Medical Leaders MHS welcomes new principal Made in America When it feels like you’re spinning plates Bonfires and “building” a farm Lady Devils looking to take that next step 50 years of Bengal memories Ag Society delivers donation to Dragonfly Foundation Young Memorial Scholarship awarded to a pair of local seniors ‘Musical passion is in his blood’ Naylor named NAHS Principal Boldman retiring after 17 years as Homeless Shelter director Manchester concludes another River Days celebration Drug Treatment vs. Prison James R Brown Bobby Lawler Jr Adams County man charged with killing estranged girlfriend Lexie N Hopkins Volleyball, soccer previews coming this weekend Michael A Cheek

Mom calls daughter “living proof” seat belts save lives

The remains of this Jeep Wrangler were on display at the courthouse square last Friday as proof that seat belts do save lives and part of the county’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

Local family hopes to raise seat belt awareness during Click It or Ticket campaign – 

Story and photos by Patricia Beech – 

The Adams County Safe Communities Coalition mobilized their annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign on Friday, May 26 by positioning the twisted metal wreckage of a Jeep on courthouse square in West Union.
According to event coordinator Debbie Ryan, the blue 2003 Jeep Wrangler, anchored to a flat-bed wagon, was brought in to serve as a stark reminder about the importance of wearing seat belts.
“Seat belts do save lives,” Ryan said, while presenting a “Saved by the Belt” award to 16-year-old Peebles High School student McKenzie Swango, who survived the May 5 accident that mangled her vehicle and left her seriously injured.
Swango’s grandparents, John and Suzanne Huffman, accepted the award on behalf of their granddaughter, who had an orthopedic follow-up appointment at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital on Friday.
Ryan said the “Saved by the Belt” award was created to identify individuals whose lives are saved or whose injuries are significantly reduced because they were wearing a safety belt or were protected by an air bag and a safety belt at the time of a crash.
In addition to honoring responsible drivers, the award provides documented evidence of cases where safety belts made the difference between life and death.
Swango’s life-altering accident on May 5 left the teen severely injured. She suffered a broken collarbone and at least one broken rib, her lungs were bruised and she had contusions (bruising) around her spine and neck, she also sustained a fractured wrist and thumb that required surgery, and later was found to have fractures in her facial bones and a broken nose, and multiple facial and eye lacerations requiring many stitches caused severe swelling that left the PHS athlete almost unrecognizable.
McKenzie’s mother, Amy Huffman-Swango, called her daughter “a very lucky girl” and credited her survival to “the hand of God and a buckled seat belt.”

With the Adams County Courthouse as a backdrop, the Safe Communities Coalition welcomed visitors to the kickoff of their “Click It or Ticket” campaign on Friday, May 26.

McKenzie admits that she never gave seat belts much thought, and would often neglect buckling up for short trips to town.
“It got to the point where I thought it couldn’t happen to me,” she said. “A few days after the accident, while I was in the hospital, I realized I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t had my seat belt on – there’s no doubt it saved my life.”
McKenzie’s mother said she was shocked by conditions at the accident scene.
“Nothing can prepare you for that, it was horrific, but McKenzie was snug as a bug behind that seat belt – it was tight against her. There is no doubt it saved her life. It scares me to think what could have happened if she hadn’t taken that extra few seconds to buckle up.”
While the experience has been emotionally wrenching for the Swangos and their extended family members, Amy says she hopes some good will come of it.
“One thing’s for sure, my girl has a story to tell, and I hope it will speak loudly to anyone who thinks that wearing a seat belt is not important.”
McKenzie’s brother Bryce appears to be her first convert.
“What happened has already changed her brother’s mind about seat belts,” Amy said. “Bryce never would wear his seat belt, but he was at the accident scene trying to get his sister out of that jeep. It had a profound effect on him, so now he buckles up.”
There has been an outpouring of support for McKenzie and her family from friends, teammates, and even rival schools – Lynchburg, Fairfield, West Union, and Manchester.
“It’s been amazing,” Amy says, “I just hope when they think of her they think, ‘I need to buckle my seat belt’.”
McKenzie agrees with her mother.
“I hope when people see my Jeep they realize it can happen to them, and I hope they will take a couple of seconds to fasten their seat belts, because it could save their lives just like it did mine.”

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