Burrillville artist Weicherding receives letter of support from RIDOT

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BURRILLVILLE – Burrillville resident and well-known published cartoonist, artist, writer, author and child safety advocate Jim Weicherding has received a letter of support from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation Highway Safety Administration.

Weicherding, a weekly contributor of the, “Sunday Cartoon,” feature on NRI NOW, has received numerous awards, honors, certificates of appreciation, plaques, star community achievement awards and citizen service medals over the years. Those to acknowledge his dedication, hard work and creative commitment to keeping kids and families safer include the federal Department of Transportation; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; the CDC; the American Academy of Pediatrics; Safe Kids Worldwide; Safe Kids USA; the Rhode Island State Police; the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association; Rhode Island Safe Kids Coalition; Hasbro Children’s Hospital; Shriner’s Hospitals and many more agencies.

Police departments and fire departments have been distributing Weicherding’s safety coloring cartoons, fridge magnets, stickers, posters and banners to grade schools, middle and high schools, daycares, libraries and community centers, in an effort to keep communities safe. This ongoing effort also includes passing these items out to children and families at community events, festivals, fairs, parades and classic car shows for the past decade.

“He’s applied his creativity and time to attracting the attention of young people and their families, so they hear this important safety message,” notes the letter, signed by RIDOT Administrator of Policy and Community Affairs Gabrielle Abbate. “He constantly finds innovative ways to increase his community outreach efforts to support his programs. He is available as a resource to all organizations in every community.”

The artist said he is honored to accept the letter of support.

“I’m happy that they acknowledge and appreciate the creative hard work and tireless dedication that goes into trying to keep children and families safer on our roadways, as well as keeping them safer related to numerous other issues and concerns that they deal with every single day, year after year,” Weicherding said.

Abbate noted that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asks RIDOT to share data-driven efforts to to increase seatbelt usage.

“Mr. Weicherding fully supports increasing that rate of use and through his program he hopes to help us meet our state goals and safety mission of zero fatalities,” Abbate wrote. “We applaud Mr. Weicherding as he shares his ongoing safety efforts to help keep families safe and whole.”

Weicherding’s cartoons are also published in numerous newspapers and magazines distributed to thousands of readers every month, and are available online for readers outside print publishing distribution areas across New England.

“Police officers statewide and regionally are always showing their support by partnering with my safety campaign community outreach efforts,” said Weicherding. “It’s nice that I’m also receiving the same support and partnership at the state level now.”

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