Sparta Woman’s Club (SWC) aims to improve the community and as part of that goal, they have initiated a 2-year Community Improvement Project, entitled Vial of Life (VOL). Since 2018 SWC has been informing Sparta Township and County residents about the availability of a free Vial of Life kit, which enables medical personnel and rescuers to obtain medical information from a patient, even if the patient is unable to speak. Marjorie L. Strohsahl, who is the Vial of Life Chair for the local woman's club says the vial can possibly save a person's life, so they're spreading the word and distributing free VOL kits.
A kit consists of a piece of paper on which to write names of medications or medical conditions, a clear baggie to put the piece of paper in, and two 2" decals (red background, white cross); one of which can be placed on the plastic baggie that can hang on the refrigerator door, and another, identical decal to be placed on the resident's front door. A patient could also add their own copy of a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) or their own copy of an EKG or their will or a recent photo into the baggie, if they'd like.
The Sparta Woman's Club Vial of Life (VOL) project commenced in early 2018 and will be completed at the end of 2019. On the table is discussion about where the project goes from here. So far, Ogdensburg and Sussex have now initiated the project too. To date, there have been five testimonials that the kits made a difference in a person's life. Barbara Mueller (patient) and Tom Holovacs (Sparta Ambulance Squad - 50-year member) attest to the importance of the kits.
Strohsahl emphasizes the importance of ensuring the inclusion of mental health information along with other medical info and she's glad for NAMI NJ's backing on that effort. NAMI NJ supported SWC's recent letter-writing campaign by allowing SWC to add NAMI NJ to the SWC letters that have been sent to Vile of Life Headquarters in California, urging for inclusion of "mental health" on the information sheets.
To meet their goal of educating the public about the free Vial of Life kits, and getting the kits in the hands of residents, SWC had an exhibit table and handed out free kits at the NAMI NJ annual 5-K Walk in Seaside Park on Sept. 28. SWC was also invited to the Dec. 7 NAMI NJ Annual Conference, and were asked to give a kit to attendees.
Free kits were distributed at the following events and locations; Sparta Schools 8 Back-to-School Nights, Sussex County Day, Sparta Police/Emergency Services Ice Cream Social, Vernon Senior Flu Clinic at St. Francis de Sales, Sparta Senior Citizens Thanksgiving Dinner at Knoll Heights, Low Vision Group at Season’s.
SWC is a member of New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs of GFWC. NJSFWC and GFWC have both promoted the SWC project. About 6,000 kits have been assembled and distributed.
Out-of-town residents may contact the Woman's Club through the web site spartawomansclub.org to complete their medical information sheet and then post it on their refrigerator in the VOL baggie.
Anyone with a testimony as to the effectiveness of this project, can contact the Woman's Club online at spartawomansclub.org.