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Victims & Advocates Honored During National Crime Victims' Rights Week

Monday, April 20, 2015 | 11:30am

Nashville --- The Board of Parole (BOP), the Department of Correction (TDOC) and the Tennessee Rehabilitative Initiative in Correction (TRICOR) are planting trees in 10 communities across the state this week to honor victims of crime and recognize the advocates who work with them.

The statewide kick-off event was this morning in Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Parole Board Chairman Richard Montgomery said, “Trees represent crime victims because they are strong and resilient. They may bend, but they rarely break. In that way, they demonstrate the steadfastness of people who have experienced crime — but refuse to be beaten by it.”

TDOC Commissioner Derrick Schofield agreed. “This year’s theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is Empowering Victims — Engaging Communities. It is a reminder that providing services to crime victims helps them heal, and makes our communities safer.”

TRICOR Chief Executive Officer Patricia Weiland’s agency provides markers for each tree. “As people pass these trees in years to come, it’s important that they know why they were planted and who they honor. The trees are a symbol of the need to assist crime victims as they rebuild their lives.”

During the event, Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson was honored with the statewide 2015 Voice for Victims Award. Anderson, a 40-year veteran of the force, has been recognized nationally for his work. The Davidson County Voice for Victims Award went to the YWCA’s Trish Davis, who manages the Weaver Domestic Violence Center.

Anna Marie of WJXA-FM (Mix 92.9) was the event emcee. Keynote speaker was Tiki Finlayson, founder of the anti-drunk driving group, 1-N-3, which she founded after a drunken driving crash that killed her son. Statistics show that one in three traffic crashes in the U. S. involve drunk driving. Finlayson was a Voice for Victims honoree in the Chattanooga area in 2013.

Additional tree planting events for this week are taking place in Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Murfreesboro,  Jackson, Dickson, Cookeville, Elizabethton and Lawrenceburg.