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After losing his son in a drowning accident, Brad Holly and his family have started a new program to keep kids safe in the water.



During the past five years, Brad Holly and his family have found many ways to honor his son Colton, the Wilsonville High School student who drowned while swimming with friends at a reservoir in the summer of 2010.

The Holly family has created the Colton Holly Memorial Scholarship Fund and handed out $30,000 in scholarships in his name.

They’ve supported high school athletes who couldn’t afford participation fees. They’ve reached out to the community through family sponsorships during the holidays and annual food bank donations.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Maddie Holly, pictured with parents Brad and Samantha Holly, is wearing an iSwimband. The Hollys have launched Swim Safe Swim Aware, a local program to keep kids safer during pool parties and other gatherings in and around water.Now, Holly is gearing up to honor Colton with a project that could help prevent other kids from dying the way he did.

Using the iSwimband, a drowning detection device, Holly founded Swim Safe Swim Aware, a local program to keep kids safer during pool parties and other gatherings in and around water.

“We kind of wanted to find a way to incorporate that into the fund,” Holly said of water safety.

The iSwimband, a rubbery, yellow band that can be worn as a headband or as a band for goggles, holds a sensor that will alert an iPhone or iPad if a swimmer is under water for more than a preset amount of time. PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: VERN UYETAKE - Maddie Holly wears an iSwimband, a safety device designed to keep kids safe during gatherings in and around water.

The bands, inspired by a 2006 Connecticut drowning incident that left a young boy with neurological impairment, are sold by Aquatic Safety Concepts.

Each band also comes with a wristband version, to be worn by toddlers, pets or others who shouldn’t enter the water at all.

Using the app, the sensor can be programmed so that it will send an alert if it goes in the water.

Holly is hoping to put together four complete iSwimband kits, each with seven sensors, seven headbands or goggle straps and seven wristbands, a waterproof Bluetooth speaker and a table for monitoring the devices.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The iSwimband is designed to send an alert to a smart phone when the device has been submerged in water for a particular length of time.He estimates that the entire project will cost about $3,000.

Holly is also looking for volunteers to help set up the kits at pool parties and then monitor the app for alerts.

While the device could certainly add a sense of security to water play, Holly says it’s no replacement for parents supervising the kids in their care.

“We want to make it very clear that we’re not alleviating them of the responsibility of monitoring the pool,” he says. “This is a second line of defense.”

Instead, he says, he hopes the program will ensure that all kids swim a little safer.

“As much as we can, we want to remove the cost as a barrier,” he says. “We want to make sure that this is available for anybody who wants to use it,”

Contact Kelsey O’Halloran at 503-636-1281 ext. 101 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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