MADISON – Several citizens gathered Monday at noon in Madison to honor and remember victims of crime with a flag raising ceremony and other events.
“We are gathered her today to honor National Crime Victims’ Rights Week which began yesterday, April 22nd and runs through Saturday, April 28th,” said Christina Ingels, the Victims’ Advocate for the Boone County Prosecutor’s Office.
Ingels said this year’s theme is “Extending the Vision, Reaching Every Victim” and the theme colors are blue and black.
“The theme calls on us to expand the vision that inspired the movement and celebrate the progress achieved to date,” she said. “It captures the spirit and resolve needed to realize our common goal of reaching each victim in need of hope and help, one victim at a time.”
Rev. Larry Halley, who lost a son to a violent crime, said he would like to see someone propose a bill to the state Legislature that would become a law to assist victims of violent crimes with costs incurred when investigating or doing research on criminal cases.
“They call it the ‘criminal justice system’ and they got that name right because the only justice seems to be available to the criminals,” he said. “I would like to see a ‘victims’ justice system.’”
Rev. Halley said victims and their family must pay for things like court documents and transcripts, while criminal defendants are given everything for free.
“Where is the justice for the victims and their families?” he asked. “This must change and I pray that someone with pull or power can get justice for victims and their families.”
Ingel said the victims’ rights movement face multiple, complex challenges in reaching out to victims. There is a demanding commitment to action as long-standing types of victimization continue, she added.
“Each of you are here today for a specific reason. Some are here for support of others, some are here to represent themselves, and others are here to remember and honor their loved ones who in the event of being victimized are no longer with us,” she said. “For each of you I say thank you. And For the victims themselves and the families of victims who are not here I commend you for standing strong and reclaiming your lives from that moment on.”
Also attending the event was Boone County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Chad Barker, Boone County Prosecutor Keith Randolph, and Boone County Circuit Judge William Thompson, along with other officials and residents.
A moment of silence was observed as well as the annual flag raising ceremony.
“Several years ago, in memory of crime victims, the Boone Crime Victim volunteers, along with the support of the Madison City Council had the Victims Memorial tree and plaque established here and each year have honored crime victims with this flag raising ceremony,” Ingels explained. “The flag was designed and purchased by the Boone Crime Victim Volunteers to symbolize victims’ rights and needs. In addition to this tradition, this year the volunteers have put together a memorial wreath to honor those we have tragically lost due to victimization.”
This year a new wreath was added to the ceremony with the names of some Boone County residents lost due to violent crimes. The names included, Brenda Linville; Faye Jarrell; Dorothy Daniels; Jimmy Bonds; Cheryl Pauley; Carmel Wooten; Walter McDerment Jr.; Eddie Ferrell; Lola Barker; Bubby Lester; Danny Ray Halley; Addison and A.J. Neeley; Jimmy Vickers; Raymond Perry Jr.; and Jess Browning.
“I would like to thank everyone again for attending today’s ceremony,” Ingels added. “I would especially like to thank Jenni Payne, Carol Cottrell, and Ruthann Delong for donating their time and talent in making the memorial wreath that is here today. I would also like to thank Patty Price, JoAnn Lowery, and Carol Massey-Price for their continued dedication in being crime victim volunteers.”
Also in honor of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week there is a basketball game Tuesday, April 24, at 6 p.m. at Madison Middle School where local law enforcement will play local attorneys. Also this Friday, April 27, from noon to 6 p.m. there is a Red Cross Blood Drive at the Madison United Methodist Church where food will be provided to donors.