Canku Ota logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 6, 2001 - Issue 46


pictograph divider


 Store Starts Program to Help Protect Children


 by Shana Hawk Shawnee News Star-September 27, 2001


Shawnee, OK - Firelake Discount Foods has implemented a program to help protect children who wander away from busily-shopping parents.

The grocery store on South Gordon Cooper Drive, owned by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, is believed to be the first Native American enterprise, and the only business in the Shawnee area, to adopt the Code Adam Alert program designed to help recover missing children in retail stores.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children organized the Code Adam program following the 1981 abduction of Adam Walsh from a Florida department store. The child was later found murdered.

"We want our customers to feel they can safely shop with their children and, if your child becomes separated from you in our store, please contact an associate so we can immediately initiate a search," store Director Terry O'Rorke said. "I have three kids myself and it scares the heck out of me to think of losing them."

O'Rorke said the store has not experienced the problem since opening in May, but "our goal is to make sure it's never a problem, even if it's a child that has just wandered into another aisle."

Firelake employees have been trained to follow several steps during a Code Adam Alert.

  • Quickly ask the parent for a detailed description of the child and what the child is wearing, especially the shoe color and style. Although abductors often change the child's clothing, they do not usually remove or change the child's shoes.
  • The employee is to use the store loudspeaker to announce "Code Adam" and provide the child's description. All other employees are stationed at each door to ensure no one leaves the store. Others are instructed to begin looking for child, including in restrooms, store rooms and stairwells.
  • Call the police.
  • If the child is found and appears to be unharmed, reunite the child and parent. If the child is found accompanied by someone other than the parent, delay that person's departure and call the police.

Firelake employees will continue to be drilled on the procedure, O'Rorke said.

"I have a 3-year-old who likes to run away, and she's quick," said Carrie Kieffer, Firelake public relations director. "It's a horrible feeling when you can't see where your child is. Your heart just jumps out of your body."

With some many nooks and crannies, and six sets of bathrooms, "it's easy for a child to disappear and easy for them to get lost," O'Rorke said. "Don't think it can't happen in Shawnee. We're not a small town anymore."



  Maps by Travel

Code Adam
When a customer reports a missing child to a store employee, a "Code Adam" alert is announced over the public-address system. A brief description of the child is obtained and provided to all designated employees who immediately stop their normal work to search for the child, and monitor all exits to help prevent the child from leaving the store.

pictograph divider



pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


Canku Ota logo


Canku Ota logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.