A newborn was safely handed over to a baby drop-off box in Indiana last week all thanks to a nineteen-year-old high school student.
As part of his senior project, CNN reported that Hunter Wart worked relentlessly to earn $10,000 for the installation of a Safe Haven Baby Box in his community.
“It was a lot of hard work. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears,” his mom Julia Kwasniewski said, adding that he did everything he could to raise funds for the project, even mowing lawns and collecting scrap metal.
Thanks to all his hard work, the box was finally installed at the Seymour Fire Department in June, and not even a month later, a newborn was left inside for the first time.
“Today I was just sitting in my office, and just doing what I usually do Thursday afternoon,” Fire Chief Brad Lucas told WHAS. “I get a call from the guys out there who say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a baby.’ And so out of the blue, you don’t expect it, but that’s when it happens. We knew it was gonna happen at some point.”
Firefighters were alerted within minutes that a baby had been dropped off, and when they arrived, they discovered she was only an hour old.
“This is why we put this in. So that a mother would have this choice,” Lucas told WHAS. “I’ve been on cloud nine ever since it happened, knowing we were able to help this baby and the mother, help the family to take custody of the baby, give it care and see that the right things did happen for that baby.”
Wart has since named the baby girl Mia, and she will soon be placed in the custody of state child services workers where she will get the proper care she needs.
“I’m hopeful that one day she will see the story of how she was safely surrendered in the Safe Haven Baby Box I raised the money for… and search online for me,” Wart said.
Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson congratulated the student for his hard work at a recent press conference and was thankful that she was not left to a worse fate, like the newborn that was found in a plastic bag in a parking lot last October.
“I shed a tear thinking about the fact that somebody did exactly what they needed to do and didn’t leave their baby in a worse situation,” Nicholson said, according to WHAS. “It’s a lifetime of difference in my mind. This child has a chance to go out and grow up and be a part of the world with a caring family.”
Safe Haven Baby Boxes have been put in place for mothers who cannot care for their newborns, giving the child a chance at a better start in life, while also allowing the mothers to remain anonymous.
According to the nonprofit’s website, it’s had fifty-nine legal Safe Haven surrenders, and that there have been no dead abandoned infants in the area since the box was installed in 2016.