Grandfather makes push for Hannah's Law - KCTV5

Grandfather makes push for Hannah's Law

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Two young children have died on metro lakes in recent weeks. Their deaths only add to the pain of the grandfather of a drowning victim but adds more fuel to his mission.

A 7-year-old boy drowned in a Douglas County Lake over the holiday weekend. Several weeks before, a 12-year-old girl on Lake Waukomis went underwater and later died.

Chris Gerlt lost his granddaughter Hannah almost one year ago. The 7-year-old drowned while swimming at Smithville Lake.

"She was a sweetheart. Anybody who knew her loved her," said Gerlt. "I still have my days...It's hard to believe she's gone."

He's stepped up efforts again to pass a law in Missouri that would require kids under the age of eight to wear a life jacket while swimming or wading when on public waterways.

It's Republican State Representative Jerry Nolte's second attempt at getting the bill passed.

"As those tragedies happen in more and more legislative districts...I think it will come up on the radar of my fellow legislators..I think we have a better shot this year," said Nolte of Gladstone.

Meanwhile, for this grandfather, he holds onto memories from seven short years. He hopes others will hear Hannah's story so, hopefully, they don't feel his pain.

"Put life jackets on them, don't assume it won't happen to me or to us or to my child. I never thought in a million years," said Gerlt.

Nolte may pre-file this bill for next session.

According to the Center for Disease Control, drowning is the second leading cause of death for kids under 14.

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