Not so secret

Secret Safe Place gets message out, raises fund

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The evening wasn’t intended to have a somber tone, but the clip for the television show "20/20" was sobering.

Shawna McConnell, one of the driving forces behind the founding of A Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee, said at the beginning of Thursday’s fund-raising dinner, "If you don’t know what we are right now, you will before you leave."

And she was right. The organization that offers a safe, unthreatened option for mothers who want to surrender their newborns got their message out to a packed house at the Airport Hilton. Just five years old, the group was formed after news stories of "the baby in the shed" hit Blount County in May of 2000. McConnell, Lisa Yount and Rep. Doug Overbey founded the organization and worked to get a state law passed that allows for the anonymous surrender of an unharmed
newborn baby up to three days old by its mother to a medical facility without fear of prosecution.

The mood of the evening, however, was far from sad. A better word for the attitude of those in the audience was "resolved." After hearing about the organization, the reason for its existence and the progress that has been made in five years, many were ready to sign up to help with time and finances.

The event raised more than $14,000 for A Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee.

Shannon McCloud is executive director. Blount Today, the media sponsor for the event, covered the dinner, presentation and silent auction.

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