(MINEOLA, N.Y.) - To better protect the health and safety of Nassau County residents who are afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other similar cognitive disabilities, Nassau County Legislator Siela A. Bynoe (D - Westbury) has filed legislation to provide residents with free access to Project Lifesaver, a search and rescue program operated internationally by public safety agencies to safely return cognitively impaired individuals who have wandered away from caregivers.
Today, as Americans continue to observe National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Awareness Week, Legislator Bynoe is urging her colleagues to schedule a public hearing and vote for her proposal, which is designed to protect cognitively vulnerable residents from harm and give their loved ones much-needed peace of mind.
The program would be named in memory of Chesnel Veillard, a resident of New Cassel who suffered from dementia. Mr. Veillard was tragically killed in November 2021 after he wandered from his home and onto the train tracks, where he was fatally struck by a train. Legislator Bynoe first learned of Mr. Veillard’s disappearance and condition when his daughter, Sendy, who worked as an intern in Legislator Bynoe’s office, called to request assistance.
While Nassau County currently utilizes the Lifesaver Program in conjunction with its Silver Alert System, participants must pay $325 to enroll. Under Legislator Bynoe’s proposal, County funding would ensure cost-fee access to Project Lifesaver for all clinically eligible residents who apply or whose families or caregivers apply on their behalf.
To maximize the benefits of the Project Lifesaver technology, anyone who enrolls in the Veillard program would also be entered into the County’s Return Every Adult and Child Home (REACH) registry - a database of children and adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injuries and other conditions that potentially limit their ability to communicate.
“No family should be deprived of access to Project Lifesaver because of an inability to pay,” Legislator Bynoe said. “Establishing the Chesnel Veillard Program and making these resources available to all eligible families will position Nassau County and its law enforcement professionals to protect our most vulnerable residents and avert tragedies like the one that devasted the Veillard family and the entire New Cassel community.”