April is Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month and three community members who go above and beyond each and every day to protect children in Ohio County were honored for their dedication on Thursday.
“We all know the old adage that the community is judged by how it treats its weakest members and if Ohio County is going to be judged by how these three people have stepped up,then Ohio County is truly a great community,” said Judge Heather Wood, who presides over First Circuit Family Court.
Similar praise came from all speakers at the annual Deborah Dloeski Allen Champion of Children Awards for all of the nominees.
This year’s winners included Beckey Weigand, who volunteers for For WV Birth to Three.
“Children are everything. Family is everything,” Weigand said. “You have to be there for your family and for the children in your lives, whether they be behind the scenes like me when I do filing at Birth to Three or in your family. You have to watch our for all of them.”
Sergeant Matthew Taylor with the Wheeling Police Department was also a winner.
“They’re the most vulnerable of society,” Sergeant Taylor said of children. “At the other end of the spectrum are the elderly, so usually when it comes to those types of investigations I try to do my best work to insure that justice is done for those that can’t care for themselves.”
Marsha Roth, who has been a special-education teacher for 40 years was the third winner.
“They mean the world to me,” Roth said. “I think I just try to get in their minds and know what they’re thinking. I try to look at the whole person, not just educationally but physically, mentally.”
“Every single one of us has to make a step to better our community and these people are taking that extra mile to do what they have to do to make sure everybody’s safe,” added Judge Wood.
The awards ceremony was sponsored by the Ohio County Family Resource Network Partners in Prevention Team.
All the nominees were submitted by members of the community they serve, who recognize their contributions to children.
Other nominees were Michelle Harriman, Veronica Reynolds, Dionne Cox, Lindsay Schooler, William “Bill” Freyler and Pat Daugherty.