The Chautauqua Children’s Safety Education Village, located at 2695 Route 394 in Ashville, will receive an Amish buggy on May 31st. The child-sized buggy is being donated to the Safety Village by the Clymer, Sherman, Ashville and Panama Fire Departments. The buggy will be used as part of the Traffic Safety Classes that take place at the Village. 

New curriculum has recently been added to the program to include awareness of slow moving vehicles including the Amish buggies, farm tractors and other equipment. The idea for adding an Amish buggy came after a conversation with the Panama Fire Chief, Vern Sheldon Jr., Past Fire Chief of Ashville Fire Dept.

Mike Gleason and Executive Director of the Safety Village, Terri Kindberg, were discussing the recent fatal accidents involving members of our local Amish community. All three had been on the scene of the most recent accident in Clymer. “That scene will be imprinted in my memory forever” states Kindberg who determined at that time to attempt to help prevent these accidents from occurring.

“We need to begin to teach children at a young age that they have to be alert and aware when they are driving and pay attention to the traffic signs, especially those telling us that there may be slow moving vehicles ahead. We have several rural areas throughout Chautauqua and Cattaraugus County that are populated with Amish families and farmers who are going to be in slow moving vehicles. We need to react when we see signs indicating that there may be a horse and buggy or a tractor ahead and immediately lower our rate of speed and proceed with caution.”

“We need to know when it is safe to pass a slow moving vehicle. And, mostly, we need to remember that the people driving or riding are someone’s mother or father, child or friend. Every life matters and as drivers, we have to be more aware and conscious of the area we are driving in and what could be ahead.”

Both Sheriff Joe Gerace, President of the Board of the Safety Village and Terri Kindberg serve as members of the Chautauqua County Traffic Safety Board. The recent accidents have been a topic on the agenda for the Board to review and determine how we, as a community,  can prevent these accidents from occurring. Aside from raising community awareness, the Children’s Safety Village is taking steps to train children at a young age. The Amish buggy will be placed in an area of the Village that is just beyond a double yellow line, where they can safely pass by in the miniature cars. The buggy is an exact replica of a life sized buggy with all of the reflectors and a slow moving vehicle sign attached to the back.

The buggy was built by local Amish gentleman, Alan Leslein and paid for by the Panama, Ashville, Clymer and Sherman Fire Departments. “Words cannot describe how grateful I am”, states Kindberg, “ that the Fire Departments came together to make all this possible. Fire Chief Vern Sheldon Jr. was friends with the Amish gentleman whose life was taken tragically in a recent accident. When he heard about trying to get an Amish buggy at the Safety Village for classes, he made it his mission to make it happen. Although we wish we could go back in time to change the outcome of that accident, we can only do our best to make changes and try to prevent an incident like this from happening again.” The community is invited to join us at the Safety Village May 31st at 6:30pm when the buggy will be donated by the Fire Departments.

The Chautauqua Children’s Safety Education Village is located at 2695 Rt 394 in Ashville, NY (next to Ashville BOCES). It is a not-for-profit organization which was formed in 1996. The DFT Communications Educational Facility, where classes are held, is surrounded by a child-sized village, complete with a business district, paved roads, a railroad station, street signs, sidewalks and everything you would find in an actual village.

The purpose of the Safety Village is to educate children, primarily in the areas of Traffic, Bike and Fire Safety. Our goal is to decrease the number of unnecessary injuries and unfortunate fatalities of children in our community by allowing them to experience hands-on safety training that they will remember for a lifetime. The lessons they learn may one day save their life.

The Safety Village offers training and certification for First Aid, CPR &  AED through the American Heart Association (both on and off site). In addition, we offer a full Babysitting Course which includes a certification in First Aid, CPR & AED. Please visit for more information and dates for upcoming events. Become friends on Facebook, as well.

The Safety Village is sustained through fundraising efforts, grants and donations from a generous community. All donations are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated. Together we can make a difference in the lives of children in our community!

For more information please visit