Smoke detector project lives on in memory of family

Two years ago, four Clintonians lost their lives in a fire in a home that did not have working smoke detectors.

The loss of Patrick Molitor, 3, Tyler Wade, 6, their mother Tonya Molitor and grandmother Francine Molitor, prompted the Clinton Smoke Detector Project. If working smoke detectors would have been in the home, the family would have been alerted early enough that they would have had plenty of time to escape.

Following this tragedy, folks were deciding what could be done to make something positive come of this terrible loss and this was the start of the Clinton Smoke Detector Project. It was decided that $25,000 would be needed to install tamper-resistant smoke detectors in the homes of all school-aged children in Clinton.

Fundraising began and people in the Gateway area donated generously and $65,000 was raised. Local merchants allowed the group to purchase smoke detectors at less than dealer cost. They were also gifted with 9-volt batteries, additional smoke detectors, cordless drills and anything else that was needed. Over 2,500 smoke detectors have been installed in nearly 1,000 homes in Clinton.

Camanche has also started a smoke detector project and similar projects are now underway in cities all across Iowa. Grant funding was also secured to provide smoke detectors to all Clinton County Fire Departments so that they can make their communities safer.

Credit for the success of the Clinton Smoke Detector Project belongs to many people including relatives of the Molitor family, the Clinton School District, PTA members, day care staff, local church members and members of the community.

This project will continue until smoke detectors are in every home in the community. If you need a smoke detector installed in your home, call 242-0125 or email

Smoke detectors save lives — make sure that you and your family are protected.

Clinton Smoke Detector Project

Community helps out

I would like to thank Dawn Nardini, Karen Tack and Audra Adams from Ashford University for coordinating our third annual Breakfast with Santa at Ashford University. I also want to thank the administrative staff at Ashford for assisting in decorating, serving, and clean up.

Thanks also to those great Freshmen Experience students at Ashford University who helped serve food, paint faces and assist with the Christmas cards for the troops. In addition I would like to thank Mercy Medical Center, Ashford University, Citizens Bank and Homers Deli/Sweetheart Bakery for sponsoring the event. We also owe a big thank you to all of the area businesses who provided food donations.

Finally I don’t want to forget to thank Santa and Champ the Puppy for providing photo opportunities for all of the children who participated in the event and for Dawn’s husband who printed all those pictures for the kids to use in homemade Christmas tree decorations.

As a result of the efforts, of all those listed above 136 children and 131 adults were treated to a delicious breakfast, a chance to have their picture taken with Santa and then make a homemade picture frame, and get their face painted. Many of the kids also addressed Christmas cards that will be sent to our troops serving our country that will not be able to spend the holidays with loved ones.

We at Big Brothers Big Sisters are always looking for children ages 5 to 17 who could benefit from having an adult mentor in their lives. We also welcome adults, 18 and over, who would like to have the life-changing experience of mentoring a young adult.

Mentoring has been proven to help a child with life issues, help them overcome obstacles, and improve the odds they will graduate from high school. If you would like to help mentor a one of the ten children on our waiting list, feel free to contact me at our office at 240 N. Bluff Blvd., suite 206B in Clinton, or call 243-4223.

Mick Welding, Director Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clinton

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