ANKENY, Iowa -- Ankeny's Safety Town is a 26-year tradition, and Cindy Arbogast has been a part of it for 20 of those years.
“Keeping kids safe is very important to me,” she smiles.
Known as the Safety Town Lady, Arbogast spends nine months out of the year creating songs, finding new ways to teach kids about stranger danger and the importance of safety. However, recently she was forced to take her own advice.
“When I was unloading our storage locker and I had a little incident and my oldest daughter says it’s time to retire. It’s getting to be too much for you, physically,” says Arbogast.
Choosing to retire as director came swiftly but not easily, and it's clear to understand why.
“Just seeing their little faces. The light going on in their head when they say, 'my mom told me that but now it’s true,'" she laughs.
Now, the search to find a new director is underway, but at a standstill. The program is strictly volunteer-based and Arbogast fears that will keep someone from taking over and dedicating their time.
Even if the position is never filled, Arbogast says it’s a bittersweet ending to a longstanding tradition.
“I figure all the time I’ve spent, if its saved a life, it’s been worth it all.”
Friday is the final day of Safety Town. Arbogast will make a formal announcement to parents and children during the camp's dual sessions.