Bomb squad builds Easter eggs for visually-impaired students

KENNY KEMP | Gazette-Mail photos
Kanawha County Sheriff bomb squad members D.H. Duff (left) and C.M. George transform Easter eggs for an egg hunt for visually-impaired children.
These eggs were fitted with a beeping device by members of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s bomb squad, Monday.

The sizzling sound of wires under hot metal filled a training room at the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office on Monday morning.

Eight members of the bomb squad formed an assembly line and pieced together 24 plastic eggs to use in an Easter event for the visually impaired.

With each quality check, the egg made a noise comparable to the sound of a beeping smoke detector.

Chasity Gillespie, a teacher for the visually impaired in Jackson County, first learned about beeping eggs when she read about a similar event in Florida.

Gillespie brought the idea to leaders of the bomb squad, and both hope the first event will lead to similar opportunities in the future.

She said the egg hunt on April 5 is not just about fun, but also a chance for the students to build confidence and meet peers with the same struggle.

“They practice traveling skills, searching skills, independence skills — and also getting the kids together to socialize,” she said.

The event will be held at Cedar Lakes Conference Center from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., and Gillespie said she expects 15 to 20 students to attend.

Lt. Chris George said the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators donated the supplies and a set of building instructions.

The process, referred to as The Rachel Project on the organization’s website, started in 2005 when member David Hyche wanted his blind daughter to enjoy an Easter egg hunt in Alabama, according to a news release.

The Blind Children’s Center in Los Angeles, sent him instructions on how to build the eggs and hold an event.

Along with the egg, Hyche needed a switch, beeper and 9-volt battery. He also needed to hold the event at a large area with no holes or large rocks, according to the release.

A group of volunteers went on to build 40 eggs at a cost of about $11.50 per egg.

Hyche later became a regional director for the National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments, which has since worked with the group of bomb technicians and investigators.

Gillespie said there are 10 visually-impaired students in Jackson County, and students from other counties will join them to experience the egg hunt together.

She said she looks forward to “the joy of looking for these eggs and the excitement it brings.”

Reach Giuseppe Sabella at giuseppe.sabella@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5189 or follow @gsabella on Twitter.

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