AAA names safety heroes in Wilton

AAA Northeast recently honored the founders of Wilton High School’s SafeRides program and two Wilton veteran police officers as department-nominated Traffic Safety Heroes during the auto club’s annual Traffic Safety lunch.

Michael Safko and his daughter Lauren, now a Vanderbilt College senior, and Lisa Schneider and her daughter, Abby, now a Lehigh University senior, were honored for founding the organization four years ago to provide free, safe rides home to all Wilton High School students on non-holiday weekends during the school year between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. The organization is composed of Wilton High School student volunteers who drive other students home if they’re unable to drive for any reason, especially if those students are in any way impaired.

The Safkos and Schneiders started the program with 64 teen volunteers. Today, more than 125 volunteers participate and more than 4,500 individuals have taken advantage of the program over the last four years.

In addition, AAA honored Officers Brandon Harris and Mike Tyler for their traffic safety efforts. Harris is very active in motor vehicle enforcement, relying first on education, then ultimately enforcement to prompt potential violators to comply with motor vehicle laws. Through this approach, according to Lt. David Hartman, who nominated Harris, Harris has identified and removed multiple individuals with outstanding arrest warrants from the streets of Wilton.

Tyler, a 17-year department veteran, was recognized for his work with child passenger safety. As a certified technician, Tyler has organized departmental clinics and assisted in numerous statewide child passenger safety seat  events in addition to performing his regular policing duties.

AAA also presented the Wilton Police Department with a Silver Award for its overall community Traffic Safety programs.