Cory (age13), Brock (11) and Makenzie (7) Snyder started project Rescue Vision in March 1996 to raise money in order to provide the local fire department with better equipment.
When the Snyder children saw a story on NBC's "Dateline" about 3 children who were killed in a fire because the firefighters could not see them, they wondered if Bowie's fire department had the necessary equipment to avoid this type of catastrophe. They did not, so the Snyder children set out to do something about it. The main piece of equipment needed was an Infrared Imaging System (IRIS). An IRIS allows firefighters to see through smoke, fog and darkness. The IRIS costs $25,000 and the Bowie fire department did not have the money for that or other vital pieces of equipment.
During the children's spring break and summer vacation, they worked tirelessly to get their fire department an IRIS. They got their own post-office box, trademarked their name and acquired a tax-exempt number. They received help from family, friends and kids of all ages to help get the word out. They went door to door, visited businesses and handed out fliers to get any donations.
The whole community was behind the Snyders as well as some big businesses. Prudential gave Cory a volunteerism award and donated a defibrillator to the Bowie fire department. When Project Rescue Vision raised $9,000, Wal-Mart matched that and doubled their money. Brock won second place in an essay contest, sponsored by Mattel, giving them $2,500 toward the project.
The town of Bowie has benefited tremendously from Cory, Brock and Makenzie's work. Through their efforts they raised $37,500 and bought an IRIS for the fire department. They also had enough money to purchase two self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA's) as well as three gas monitors.
The Snyder's work didn't stop there. Project Rescue Vision has $3,000 in donations toward their future endeavors. They are currently working toward getting the fire department and first aid squad much needed equipment like a jaws of life and a defibrillator for each firetruck and ambulance.