Locals honored for victim advocacy


WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE — Fayette County Victim Witness advocates hosted a ceremony this week for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, where four awards were given.

Victim advocates Alexis Crabtree and Sonia Haithcock held an event at the South Side Church of Christ on Monday in celebration and empowerment of crime victims in the area. Candles were lit by close family members and local mentors in honor of victims who have passed away from violent crimes.

Picture frames lined the edges of a dimly lit stage in honor of family members and locals whose lives were unfairly taken, and community members came together to share a moment of silence to remember those who have fallen.

Before the evening came to a close, Crabtree announced that four awards would be handed out to outstanding locals who had “taken that extra step” to be an advocate to crime victims in the area.

The first award that was handed out was the GEM award, given to Billy Parrish, owner of Parrish Towing.

“Most often, when people think of crime victims, they think of physical violence,” said Crabtree. “However, crime victims can also experience psychological effects, as well as financial effects.”

Earlier this year, Parrish wrote off a $300 bill that had accumulated from a theft victim’s car being stolen and towed from Ross County. According to Crabtree, Parrish wouldn’t want the gentleman to “have to bear that financial burden.”

Crabtree added, “We are thankful for all that Mr. Parrish has done for crime victims over the years and hope that others will feel led to express the same kindness that Billy does.”

The next award presented was The Allied Professionals Award, given to Taryn Fraley, a caseworker at Fayette County Children Services.

“Taryn works directly with child victims on abuse, neglect and dependency cases,” said Crabtree. “She works diligently to ensure that they receive the services necessary to heal from the effects of trauma.” She added, “Taryn is supportive and sympathetic to all that she comes into contact with. She absolutely deserves to be recognized for all that she does for child victims in Fayette County.”

The third award presented was the Exceptional Law Enforcement Award, given to former detective at the Washington Court House Police Department, now lieutenant at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, Mike Warnecke.

According to Crabtree, Lt. Warnecke organizes Kids & Cop Christmas Shop every year, which provides Christmas gifts and a wonderful experience for children of Fayette County to build relationships with law enforcement. The lieutenant is also known to make referrals to a victim advocate when he notices that a victim “is in need of more support.”

“As a detective, Warnecke has been wonderful working with crime victims,” said Crabtree. “He showed victims that he cared about their case by listening to them and doing great investigatory work.”

As Warnecke was given the award, Crabtree also announced that, “He made himself available to crime victims when working on their cases, listening to any concerns that they had, ensuring them that their voice was being heard at all stages in the criminal justice system.”

Lastly, the second Exception Law Enforcement Officer Award was given to Detective Treg Brown of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.

Brown was a “relentless advocate” for crime victims, who put himself “out on the line” to make sure victims’ voices were being heard, according to Crabtree.

“He believes crime victims, supports them, and treats them with kindness,” she said. “DetectiveBrown has set an example that other law enforcement officers can follow and for that, he deserves recognition.”

The evening was closed out with a gathering of prayer given to bless National Crime Victims’ Rights Week by the leader of South Side Church of Christ, Pastor Matthew Hippely.

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