SH police get grant for bicycle safety

SOUTH HAVEN — The South Haven Police Department has received a $2,000 grant to bolster its bicycle safety efforts.

The department earned the grant courtesy of Apple Insurance Company co-owner Laurie Willett. Willett applied for the grant through Safeco Insurance’s Change Agent program and was chosen as one of two winners selected nationwide for a Change Agent award.

Agents were selected by submitting photos of their volunteerism, from which 10 finalists were chosen by Safeco. A Facebook album was then created on the Safeco Insurance page and the public was invited to vote. The two agents who received the most likes and comments on their photos were recognized nationally as Change Agents.

“The Change Agents program recognizes agents’ passion projects to support causes and organizations that are meaningful to them,” said Celine Sommerdyke, Safeco Insurance West Michigan territory manager. “These independent agents serve as trusted advisors to help people protect what matters most while impacting their local communities.”

For the past four years, the South Haven Police Department and the team at Apple Insurance of South Haven have partnered together to increase awareness for the department’s bicycle safety program. Apple Insurance, alongside their mascot, Safety Sammy, create and distribute around 1,000 Bicycle Safety Activity Books to all local elementary schools helping teach the rules of the road and safety tips for safe bicycle riding. The agency also volunteers their time at the annual South Haven Police Department Bicycle Rodeo event, passing out Bicycle Safety Activity Books and bicycle reflectors.

The police department plans to use the grant funds to purchase 20-22 bicycles to donate to deserving kids in the South Haven community.