Child abuse victims honored with ceremony

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Jessica Smith (left) and Crystal Martin (right) stand with their Certificates of Honor acknowledging their efforts to help children in the community.

On Friday, Apr. 19, the downstairs courtroom at the Greenbrier County Courthouse was packed with attendees of the annual Children’s Memorial Flag Day ceremony.

Due to weather, everyone had to gather indoors, instead of in front of the courthouse as in years past. Representatives from CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), CYAC (Child and Youth Advocacy Center), Davis Stuart, FRC (Family Refuge Center), the Children’s Home Society, and other legal groups all gathered to speak about and honor victims of child abuse.

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, and Children’s Memorial Flag Day is a campaign initiated by the Child Welfare League of America that is geared at helping raise awareness of child abuse and neglect. The centerpiece of this campaign is simple – a red flag depicting blue, paper-doll-like figures of children holding hands. In the center, a white chalk outline of a missing child symbolizes the thousands of children lost to violence each year.

Two community members were honored for all that they do for children in the area, Crystal Martin and Jessica Smith. Martin works with the local CASA chapter, and according to CASA Director Jenny Castle, “she gives 100 percent.” Smith has been a foster mom to 15 children and says that she is able to do what she does, “thanks to this village.”