Imagine that you are safely asleep in your bed when suddenly ski-masked bandits, who have scaled a 400 foot cliff just to get to you, land on your balcony. They then hold you at gun point and force you to open your safe to give them several thousand dollars and all the contents inside. Now imagine that you are also the director of an orphanage and responsible for safety of dozens of children who are sound asleep right below you.
This is a true story, not an action adventure flick whereby Harrison Ford comes to the rescue. For nearly 30 years Claire and Larry Boggs have been operating an orphanage in Guatemala where they try to find adoptive U.S. families for the kids, but about four years ago they were robbed at machine gun point. Ever since then they have been trying to install a security system to protect the orphanage.
Mark Hillenburg, product architect, Digital Monitoring Products, is the director of Operation Security Blanket, which is a project designed to help the Boggs install a security system for the children. Recently I was able to catch up with Hillenburg about the project.
Harlick: How did you become aware of these folks?
Hillenburg: My daughter went on a high school missions Trip to Guatemala, and my wife was a chaperone on that trip. So they had been there and seen the kids and the children’s home, etc. Later that year, the Boggs were visiting the church that we attend, and we had them out to our house for dinner. We just started talking…and talking about security and the needs of the children’s home. The more we talked, the more I thought we could make this come together to meet the need.
Harlick: Mark what challenges do you foresee occurring over the next 12 months and how do you plan to overcome them?
Hillenburg: If we can get the equipment we need donated, then I really think it will be smooth. But there are lots of details. The children’s home is actually constructing a small building to house the “Guard Center” and all the main control head-end of the software that will drive the system. We also have to raise the money for the trip for all our installers and volunteers. They are paying their own way so each guy will have to raise about $2,000. We are planning to take 12-15 people for the installation next March.
Harlick: What are your needs and how can we as an industry help?
Hillenburg: We will need a small electric generator for AC backup; we will need a couple of good Windows PC’s to run the software and at least two 17” flat screen monitors. Plus lots of smaller things, cameras, camera mounts, lenses, connectors, splicing tools, drill bits (especially masonry bits), panic pull stations, door contacts, weatherproof NEMA boxes, etc.