Family honors their son’s memory by funding county’s first Safe Haven Baby Box

Members of the Seyle and Eversole families gather at the dedication of Bardstown’s Safe Haven Baby Box in memory of Joshua Eversole.


Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023 — Thanks to the generosity of a Bardstown family and their desire to turn a tragedy into lifesaving action, the city of Bardstown now has a safe place for a mother to give up her baby.

Last week, a new Safe Haven baby box was dedicated at Bardstown Fire Department Station 1 located on East John Rowan Blvd.

According to Joe Prewitt, the county’s emergency services director, the project has been months in the works and was made possible by the generosity of Gary and Kathy Seyle, a local family who lost their son, Joshua Walker Eversole, on July 4, 2022.

According to Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of Indiana-based Safe Haven Baby Boxes, the boxes are environmentally controlled, safe places for a mother to leave an unwanted child, knowing it will receive immediate care and medical treatment.

Bardstown’s baby box is number 180 in the nation, and number 23 in Kentucky, she said.

The company’s baby boxes receive a child approximately once every 10 to 20 days nationwide, she said.

Bardstown Mayor Dick Heaton thanked the Seyles for their efforts, which can give a local mother a way to give up their child in a safe manner.

Both the city and county governments contributed with in-kind donations to defray the cost of the unit.

“We appreciate you all taking the pain of your loss and your story and turning it into something beautiful,” Kelsey told the Seyles.

THE PROCESS. When a baby is left in the Baby Box, emergency responders at the location of the box are alerted. They take the child from the box from the inside of the building. They transport the child to the hospital for a full medical evaluation.

Most of the babies left in baby boxes were not born in a hospital, so its important they receive immediate medical care, Kelsey explained.

The state’s Department of Child Services determines what happens to the child. Within about 30 days, the child is placed in a “foster-to-adopt” situation, which places the child with a family seeking to adopt a child. According to Kelsey, the average time it takes to complete one of the adoptions is six months.

Indiana-based Safe Haven Baby Boxes was founded in 2016.


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