TAMPA, Fla., May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Shriners Hospitals have joined forces with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), to help locate children under 18, who could benefit from the expert care available at Shriners Hospitals. M. Burton Oien, Imperial Potentate of the Shriners of North America, and Colonel Christopher Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, kicked off the partnership at a press conference at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa, Fla. Shriners Hospitals will provide every trooper in Florida with Shriners Hospitals' toll-free number business cards. When members of the Florida Highway Patrol identify a child who they think may need services provided by Shriners Hospitals for Children, they will provide the child's parents or guardian with the card, which can be accessed in order to obtain more information and a patient application. "It is not only an honor but a privilege to partner with Shriners Hospitals with a common goal of helping children," said Colonel Christopher A. Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. Shriners Hospitals treat children with orthpaedic problems, severe burn and spinal cord injuries. "Our partnership with the Florida Highway Patrol will help us find children in isolated areas who need help but may never have come in contact with Shriners Hospitals," said Ralph W. Semb, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Shriners Hospitals for Children. "Our goal is to have all 50 states participate in programs like this." This is not the first time Shriners Hospitals has joined with a government agency to locate children using the direct contact approach. In 2000, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also helped Shriners Hospitals through its Community Outreach Program. Similarly in 2001, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) established "Operation Red Coat/Red Fez," a program where more than 3,000 Royal Canadian Mounties were asked to help locate Canadian children in need of the type of medical care provided at no cost in all 22 Shriners Hospitals. Since the first Shriners Hospital opened in 1922, more than 735,000 children with orthopaedic problems, severe burns and spinal cord injuries have received some of the best medical care in the world. The 22 Shriners Hospitals provide care totally without charge to children up to their 18th birthday. The Shriners of North America, an international fraternity with approximately 450,000 members in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Panama, founded the hospital system. If you know a child Shriners Hospitals might be able to help, call 1-800-237-5055 in the U.S.; 1-800-361-7256 in Canada; or visit www.shrinershq.org.
SOURCE Shriners Hospitals for Children