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Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012 05:09 pm


Mark Bott of Springfield wants to give parents something he hopes they’ll never need. Bott is the founder of Operation Kidsafe, an international program that photographs and fingerprints children for free, providing parents with the information in case a child goes missing. Now in its 11th year, the Springfield-based program is celebrating its one millionth child protected, with a free photo and fingerprint session at three spots in Springfield. Bott says he formerly owned several car dealerships, but he sold them and began volunteering extensively. After emceeing the launch of the Amber Alert system, Bott says he realized he didn’t have a plan to protect his own seven children. He started Operation Kidsafe as a way to offer parents not only free photograph and fingerprinting service, but also educational tips about creating a “family plan of action” to protect children. Bott says the only record of a family’s visit to an Operation Kidsafe event goes home with that family, and no information is stored in any database. There’s no catch or signup, he says, and even though the event is planned for three car dealerships in Springfield, participants don’t even have to test drive a car to use the service. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 20 at Green Hyundai,  1200 S. Dirksen Parkway, at Green Toyota, 3901 W. Wabash Ave., and at Green Mazda, 3760 S. Sixth St. For more information, visit Operation Kidsafe at www.kidsafeprints.com.
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