Crime Victims’ Rights Week celebrated

| April 11, 2014

COSHOCTON – National Crime Victims’ Rights Week was celebrated with a luncheon to honor those who work in the field.

The program was held April 10 at The Presbyterian Church and after enjoying a lunch provided by Mike Abood, those in attendance listened to a program on elder abuse by Ursel McElroy Drake, M.A., who serves as the deputy director of education and policy for the Ohio Attorney General’s Crime Victim Section.

“I’ve had the opportunity to travel around Ohio and I’m very proud to see community’s celebrating this week,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for us to look back on what we’ve already established for crime victims and discuss how we can continue to help.”

Drake has 20 years of experience working in the interest of older victims and her presentation focused on the problem of elder abuse.

“It can happen to anyone and is the most under reported crime in America,” she said. “It’s important that we understand that there are people in our community suffering abuse at the hands of their caregivers and that the community create opportunities to discuss this issue so we can figure out how to provide them the assistance that they need.”

During the lunch, several community members and organizations were applauded for the assistance that they provide to victims of crime.

Nicole Hostetler was honored for her years of service to First Step, especially the time she spent as the agencies legal advocate. The Animal Medical Surgical Center and Cathrine Darr were thanked for donations made to First Step’s pet shelter and Don Dixon was celebrated for the maintenance work he did on First Step’s shelter. United Way of Coshocton County also was presented with an award for the many years it has supported First Step.

A Lifetime Achievement Award also was presented during the lunch and Vickie Laudick of First Step had the honor of giving it to Debbie Wallace.

“She is very dear to me and has supported me in the ups and downs of both my personal and professional life,” Laudick said. “When we first tried to start First Step we were presented with a lot of barriers, but she helped me and encouraged me during a time when I didn’t have a lot of self-esteem or believe in my abilities.”

Wallace was a founding board member of First Step.

“Kudos to all of you for the work you do every day,” she said. “You do not get enough appreciation for what you do. Thank you for your work.”

Wallace also encouraged those in attendance to support others who have a dream to make a difference in the community.

“First Step started with Vickie and she now employs 15 people,” Wallace said. “I’m also sure that there are women who wouldn’t be alive without her and children whose lives are a lot different because of her.”

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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