By Ed Brock
Lending a helping hand to the victims of domestic violence earned several Clayton County agencies and individuals the recognition of the county's Securus House shelter for those victims.
The Clayton County Sheriff's Office, the Office of the Solicitor General, Morrow Police Department, the Wilma W. Shelnutt Senior Adult Center and others were the recipients of public service awards from the shelter. The awards were handed out during the annual meeting of the Association on Battered Women of Clayton County and Securus House held Monday night.
"We chose these folks not because others didn't do a great job but because these people really put something forth on specific issues," said Securus House Director Carolyn James. "They're all great people. I'm honored to work with them."
Georgia Rep. Victor Hill, D-College Park, received an award for his work in passing legislation that will require the state to provide translators for non-English speaking victims of spousal abuse who are seeking temporary protective order. The sheriff's office and solicitor general's office were honored for their assistance in the prosecution of domestic violence cases, James said.
"We've worked closely with the particular cases they were following through the courts," Clayton County Sheriff Stanley Tuggle said. "It's always nice to be recognized by this group because they work so hard."
Clayton County Solicitor General Keith Martin said the award "is in recognition of the 28 people in my office who make my dreams their duty and I'm so proud of them."
"If anybody wants to know where agencies work together to benefit people, it happens right here in Clayton County and it happens every day," Martin said.
The entire Morrow Police Department received the award Monday, said Morrow Police Maj. Charlie Sewell who is also on the board of directors for Securus House.
"We solicit outside donations and outside support," Sewell said. "If they need their grass cut or their plumbing fixed we help locate somebody who can help them."
The department "certainly appreciates" the award, Morrow Police Chief Kenny Smith said.
"We want to do anything we can do in the ongoing saga of fighting domestic abuse. We want to be on the leading edge of that," Smith said.
James said the Shelnutt Center was honored because it frequently lends members of the shelter a room for public meetings.
"Because our shelter is in a confidential location we can't have people just show up there," James said.
While it's nice to be recognized by Securus House, Shelnutt Center Manager Jean Peters said, "We recognize them as being wonderful."
"I think they do a wonderful job," Peters said. "Without them there would be not only a lot of mistreated seniors but a lot of mistreated people in the county."
The Association on Battered Women of Clayton County has been in existence since 1983 and the shelter was opened in 1991. In the past year that James has been director the program helped more than 4,000 victims of domestic violence.