Children’s Advocacy Center Honors Champions Of Children At Inaugural One With Courage Awards Luncheon

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Hamilton County announces several award recipients from its One with Courage Awards Luncheon this month. The One with Courage Awards Luncheon celebrates champions of children in our area who enrich the lives of kids through help, hope, or healing and honors those who support the children served by the CACHC through giving, service, or voluntarism.

CACHC Executive Director, Shelley McGraw, opened the program with an introduction of Mayor Andy Berke, who, along with Judge Curtis Collier, read and presented a joint proclamation for Child Abuse Awareness Month from the City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County.

Guest speaker for the event was Erin Merryn, celebrated author and public figure who suffered years of sexual abuse and rape as a child and teenager. In 1998, she broke her silence at the age of 13 at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Northwest Cook County in Illinois.  She published her childhood diary into the book Stolen Innocence when she was a senior in high school and began traveling the country in 2005 telling her story.

To date, Ms. Merryn has appeared on Oprah, CNN, MSNBC, and more than a dozen other international media outlets and was named Glamour Magazine 2012 Woman of the Year and a 2013 People Magazine Heroes Among Us. In 2009 she began lobbying to create Erin’s Law which calls for children in public schools to receive age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention education and for adults to receive training on the signs of abuse and the proper way to react to a disclosure of abuse from a child.  To date, Erin’s Law has passed in more than 12 states with Tennessee being one of the most recent.

Help, Hope, and Healing Awards were announced by Monique Berke, chair of the One with Courage Awards committee. Recipients of the Help Award were Chris and Dorothy Rolle with finalists Lurone Jennings, Sr. and Frances McDonald. This award recognizes those having courage to take action to help children in need or crisis.   Each morning, Chris and Dorothy Rolle prepare a hot, healthy breakfast for Avondale neighborhood school children who are waiting for their bus.  Compelled to intervene when many of these children who were walking long distances were going to school hungry, the Rolles began cooking and serving food in a tent outside of their home across from the bus stop. Mr. and Mrs. Rolle want these children to realize someone cares for them and see this ministry as an opportunity to not only feed their bodies but to enrich their lives with a positive attitude and sense of respect for others.

Finalists for the Hope Award were Kayla Austin, Michael Cranford, and Hannah Vann. The Hope Award recognizes those who have the courage to inspire or educate children by offering hope for their future. Receiving the Hope Award was Kayla Austin. During a mission trip to Peurto Lempira, Honduras, Kayla encountered an 11 year-old boy with cerebral palsy locked in a room, naked, in deplorable conditions. So moved by this child’s situation, she began the process of obtaining legal custody and a medical visa to the U.S. where he now thrives. She has since founded a non-profit to support and empower girls and women in Honduras and will soon move there to direct the first phrase of the project.

Finalists for the Healing Award were Katherine Burnett, Joe and Paula Smith, and Dr. Julie Zielinski. The Hope Award recognizes those who have the courage to make hurting children whole by providing healing to their mind, body, or spirit. Receiving the Healing Award was Dr. Julie Zielinski.  Using her personal time and finances, Dr. Zielinski travels to medically underserved areas throughout the world to perform surgeries, treat orthopedic conditions in children, educate medical staff, and transport medical supplies. On a recent mission trip to Ethiopia, she performed extensive surgery on a teenage girl with a rare bone disorder who had been ostracized, abused, and raped because of her handicap.

Announcing the CACHC Volunteer Awards was Board Chair, Mark Huth. These awards are given annually to recognize those who support the children served by the CACHC through giving, service, or voluntarism.

The Child Protective Investigative Team Member of the Year award was presented to Mrs. Lilly Rucker. Selected by her peers for her 15 years of dedication and compassion to the children she serves, Mrs. Rucker is described as an “unsung hero, and a kind example to us all.”

The Presidential Award was presented to Mr. Scott McDearman. Mr. McDearman has provided many years of legal expertise to the CACHC staff, accompanying staff to court proceedings, always being available for legal questions, and reviewing nearly every subpoena the agency receives to advise the staff on their next steps.

The Janet Ricks McConnell Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Gold Bond, Inc. for the company’s generous support through corporate donation, product donation for events, and overall support for the CACHC’s mission. Accepting the award was Gold Bond, Inc. President, Mr. Mark Godsey.

The Curtis L. Collier Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Ms. Tracey Spiekermann. Ms. Spiekermann was selected for this award for her dedicated service of volunteering at special events, fundraisers, clerical assistance, and willingness to always help wherever needed.

The final award of the day was the Emeline W. Haney Award, the agency’s highest honor award. Receiving the award was Ms. Linda Elligan, CACHC clinical director, for her 20 years of service counseling hundreds of children affected by child abuse and her part in helping make the CACHC as important in the lives of the most vulnerable as it was established to do.



Morning Pointe Of Collegedale To Celebrate 10th Anniversary On Thursday

Morning Pointe of Collegedale at Greenbriar Cove will celebrate its 10th anniversary with hors d’oeuvres, refreshments and door prizes. The event will take place on  Thursday, June 16 , from  4-6 p.m. , at 9650 Leyland Drive in Ooltewah. An open house formal program will begin at  4:30 p.m. RSVP at  423 396-6999 . (click for more)

Code Orange Health Watch Issued For Tuesday

A Code Orange Health Watch has been issued for Tuesday, with a  101-150 on the AQI index. Levels of pollution are forecasted to be unhealthy for sensitive groups.   People at risk include:  Children who are active outdoors Adults of all ages exercising or working outdoors People with asthma or other respiratory conditions ... (click for more)

Police Chief Says Community Will Have Input On Placement Of Crime Cameras; To Be Tied In With New Real Time Intelligence Center

Police Chief Fred Fletcher said Tuesday that the community will have input on the placement of cameras designed to deter crime. He told the City Council at a budget hearing that the cameras are part of a Real Time Intelligence Center designed to quickly analyze crime patterns so officers and detectives can react faster and with more knowledge about the situation. Chief Fletcher ... (click for more)

Robbery Arrest Made After Victim Gets New Replacement Phone And Pics Of Robbers Are Uploaded To New Phone

A robbery arrest was made after the victim got a new phone and then had pictures from her stolen phone uploaded to the new phone to her Cloud account. Among the pictures uploaded were photos of the robbers. The female victim identified Seth Benjamin Hardnett, 18, of 1703 E. 14th St., as one of the robbers from the incident on April 12. Hardnett was charged with aggravated ... (click for more)

Colonel Enicks Is Turning Out Leaders At Red Bank High School

I am a former teacher and football coach at Red Bank High School. I have been a witness to the great things that happen at Red Bank High School.  The teaching staff has a great mixture of experience and promising new teachers.   Dr. Robertson, the principal, is a great man and a wonderful role model for students. He shows up the same way every day and his consistency ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Hot Rod’s Catfish Dinner

It could well be the best part of playing a prank is in the delicious moments until your “fish” takes the hook. So yesterday afternoon, as I tried repeatedly to talk to a man I haven’t spoken to in 27 years, rather than leave my name I popped off the Happy Birthday song in a snappy, loud way and then ended it with a simple, “Call me,” adding my number. John “Hot Rod” Talley spent ... (click for more)