CVCC recognizes volunteers

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Freeborn County Crime Victims Crisis Center staff recently recognized two members of the community for their work in helping victims of crime.

The recognition came during Crime Victims Rights Week in April, when every year, the CVCC staff think about who has stood out in terms of their commitment to victims of crime.

This year Freeborn County District Court Judge John A. Chesterman and Freeborn County dispatcher Barb Whiteaker received the recognition.

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CVCC Supervisor Rose Olmsted said before his career as judge, Chesterman was an attorney who was appointed as a guardian ad litem for children whose families were involved with the family court system. In that role he advocated for the best interests of children.

Prior to 1991, Chesterman was on the advisory board for the CVCC, and when the community organized a focus group about family violence and how to work toward a coordinated response, he was active in that focus group, she said.

He has a history in his professional career of having a willingness to learn and seek continuing education about the issues he has to address in the courtroom.

“In my role as the supervisor of CVCC, I have been told by other programs who work with victims of crime that we are very fortunate to have a judge in our community who is so approachable and committed to being informed of issues he must address,” Olmsted said.

Whiteaker was one of the first group of volunteers trained by the CVCC in the beginning of the crisis center. She provided after-hour coverage as a trained volunteer.

Olmsted said Whiteaker has extensive professional experience in responding to children and adults who are in crisis. As a dispatcher for more than 20 years, she has a calm, yet compassionate presence.

During much of her career, Whiteaker has worked the graveyard shift, Olmsted added. In doing so, she has often been involved in receiving the initial call for help from many victims of crime.

“In my work with Barb in my years at Freeborn County, I have so enjoyed her smiles, sense of humor and positive attitude,” Olmsted said. “Barb not only has been a support for individuals who call dispatch for help, but also for professionals such as myself which interact with the criminal justice system. Barb has been such an asset in our community.”

During the recognition event, CVCC staff also recognized the winners of the center’s annual art contest.

For the preschool through kindergarten contest, Macy Taylor placed first and Jace DeLosSantos placed second.

For the first and second grade contest, Kendall Flatten placed first and William Bair placed second.

The contest promotes the goal of the CVCC to raise awareness and educate the community about crime victimization and resources available to crime victims.