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Focusing on Adults 50+ in Mesa, Delta, Montrose and Garfield Counties

Joyce Loss may be watching over you

Apr 30, 2012, noon
Historic Colona School.

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Joyce Loss works to protect neighborhoods and to preserve the historic Colona Schoolhouse.

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Refurbished windows on the school.

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Neighborhood watch program.

By Betty Lundgren

Families and neighbors in the Montrose area are in good hands—they are in those of volunteer extraordinaire, Joyce Loss. Her energy is seemingly unbounded as she works to preserve the past and ensure a safe future for all residents in her community.

One program near and dear to Loss’ heart is supporting and continuing the Neighborhood Watch Program. For over 30 years, Loss has helped keep countless children, families and neighbors safe, as communities continue to grow and change.

There was a time (before television and Internet) when citizens immediately reached out to each other to get acquainted, followed the exploits and growth of neighbor children, and kept a watchful eye and ear out for unusual occurrences or strangers that might pose a threat. But times changed and neighbors didn’t seem to interact as much as they could (or perhaps should). The Neighborhood Watch program was started by the National Sheriffs’ Association in 1972 as a way to involve local residential citizens and create a link for them to assist law enforcement on a grass roots level.

The Montrose Neighborhood Watch program was started by a local policeman over 30 years ago. Through the Montrose Altrusa service club, which adopted Neighborhood Watch as a project at that time, Loss got involved and got hooked on helping neighbors take care of one another. The original organizing policeman was transferred, so Loss took over as leader of the group and continues that role today.

“The central part of my work is organizing and scheduling meetings to keep everyone apprised of what is going on in their neighborhoods,” Loss said.

She has organized hundreds of meetings in churches, homes, schools and homeowner association meetings over the years.

Another central aspect of the Neighborhood Watch program is finding out about any special needs or concerns of your neighbors, such as identifying those in wheel chairs, and those who might have special medical or developmental challenges that could be affected by power outages or other unforeseen crises.

“Just knowing who might need additional assistance in an emergency and assuring them you will be there to help look out for them can be comforting, and of invaluable help to emergency responders,” Loss said.

Neighborhood Watch programs were revitalized and expanded beyond crime prevention after September 11. It has become part of the Homeland Security and Citizens Corp Community Emergency Response (CERT) network through USA on Watch (www.usaonwatch.org) and also focuses on disaster preparedness, emergency response and terrorism awareness.

As training for this new outreach, Loss and several other Montrose residents have completed the first phase of CERT preparedness training.

“We are there and available to assist professional responders who could be overwhelmed in the face of an emergency or disaster,” Loss said. “We encourage people to become CERT block captains and get this invaluable training so we are all better prepared as citizens.”

She encouraged everyone to visit www.readycolorado.com and prepare a “grab and go” 72-hour disaster supply kit with first aid supplies, medicines, tools, bedding, water and food.

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