MARION – Mount Gilead resident Natasha M. Grau joined Ohio’s “Saved by the Belt” Club after her safety belt saved her from sustaining life-threatening injuries.

The crash occurred on state Route 100 in Marion County on April 15.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Sergeant Ryan E. Purpura, Public Affairs Unit, on behalf of the Marion Post, presented her with a “Saved by the Belt” certificate signed by Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Andy Wilson and Colonel Charles A. Jones, Patrol superintendent.

Grau serves as a master sergeant in the Ohio Air National Guard, 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield. A “Saved by the Belt” ceremony was held Sunday during the training weekend with base leadership and fellow service members in attendance.

“Natasha is a living testimony to the effectiveness of safety belts,” Sergeant Purpura said. “As a retired member of the 179th and knowing Natasha for many years, it was extra special for me to be able to recognize her in front of her peers.

“Her choice to wear her safety belt reminds those she serves alongside in the Air Guard and those who drive on our roadways to buckle up each time they get in a vehicle.”

Data from 2022 shows 527 people in Ohio were killed in traffic crashes where a safety belt was available, but not in use. For up-to-date statistics and information on safety belts, log onto the Patrol’s Safety Belt Dashboard at

The “Saved by the Belt” Club is a joint effort by the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. This club is designed to recognize people who have benefited from their decision to wear safety belts.

She also received a “Saved by the Belt” license plate bracket.

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