For Immediate Release
Retired ATF Special Agent Beeping Egg Mission Continues
Audible Eggs Make Easter Festivities More Accessible to Visually Impaired
WASHINGTON – For 16 years, ATF Special Agent David Hyche has been on a mission to ensure his daughter, Rachel, and other people with special needs can gain independence and increase participation in activities most of us take for granted. Specifically, an Easter egg hunt. Now retired from ATF and serving as the Chief of the Calera Police Department in Alabama, Hyche continues to pursue that mission.
“People like Rachel with special needs, can often do things independently with a little modification,” Hyche said. “I have learned not to decide what she can and can’t do or what she might enjoy. She decides for herself and tries virtually everything, including skating, bike riding and movies.”
Rachel Hyche, 18, who lost her vision as an infant, was not quite two years old when David realized a little modification would be required for her to participate in the annual Easter tradition, which sent him on a quest to find a solution. He discovered a Los Angeles-based center for blind children who had information about how to make beeping eggs.
Being a Certified Explosives Specialist and Chapter Director of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, Hyche would normally render safe small, wired, beeping spheres scattered in a field, but in this case, he learned to create them and then shared his knowledge and design with others throughout his communities. The Birmingham Police Department Bomb Squad, Hoover Police Department Bomb Squad, Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, and his ATF co-workers all helped to construct those initial eggs.
That first event, which hosted 11 blind and visually impaired children, was an amazing success. The IABTI carries the mantle for what is now called The Rachel Project. IABTI members and other volunteers build and provide beeping eggs for organizations across the country.
“The number of beeping egg hunts has grown every year since we started 16 years ago,” said Hyche. “I communicate with people all over the country and put the eggs together with IABTI each year as new police departments and bomb squads participate.”
Hyche is participating in four Easter eggs hunts this year, along with other members of IABTI and ATF’s Montgomery Field Office. ATF Los Angeles also assisted with a hunt in Irvine, California, over the weekend. For more information and to request beeping eggs for future use, go to www.iabti.org/beeping-eggs/.