Members of organizations from around Del Norte and Curry County that fight for victims rights and wellbeing gathered at the annual Crime Victims’ Rights Luncheon in the Pelican Bay State Prison cafeteria on Thursday.
The luncheon was held as a belated part of National Crime Victim’s Week, which was April 6–12 this year.
Delegations from the Crescent City Police Department, District Attorney’s Office, Victim/Witness Assistance Center, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Adult Protection and Child Welfare Services, North Coast Rape Crisis, Harrington House, Oasis House and a representative of the state were in attendance to honor some of their top employees and volunteers through the past year.
“It is important that we recognize the hard work and dedication of many of the staff in the community,” said Pelican Bay State Prison Warden Clark Ducart. “They are respectful, and we need to recognize them.”
Each of the organizations singled out individuals who went above and beyond what was expected of them in service to victims. Midway through the luncheon, however, Scott Feller, district representative for state Sen. Jim Nielsen, changed things up by honoring the entire CASA of Del Norte organization.
“On behalf of the California State Senate, and Sen. Jim Nielsen, I would like to present a certificate of recognition to CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, for providing an environment where all children that live there are safe and secure by providing well-trained volunteers to advocate effectively in the child’s best interest,” Feller said.
CASA of Del Norte is currently helping 44 children who have been removed from home and made a dependent of the juvenile court, according to Associate Executive Director Christine Slette. That is more than ever before, though CASA is still trying to find volunteers to help 36 more children, Slette said.
“CASA Del Norte only has two employees. The rest of the CASA program relies completely on volunteer work,” Solette said. “I would like to thank of our volunteers, our board of directors and all the other people in the community who step up and help our program be successful.”
Crime Victims Luncheon Honorees
Crescent City Police: Justin Gill
District Attorney’s Office and Del Norte County Victim/Witness Assistance Center: Annamarie Padilla and Todd Zocchi
CASA of Del Norte: Cara Patten and Janet Gilbert
California State Senate, Representative Scott Feller and state Sen. Jim Nielsen: CASA Del Norte
Adult Protection and Child Welfare Services: Gary Blatnick
Harrington House: Jerry Carrick and Shelagh Carrick
North Coast Rape Crisis: Esther DuBois and Elizabeth Hutchens
Oasis House: Olivia Davis