Effingham’s Victim Witness Assistance Program held its 20th anniversary appreciation banquet on Thursday evening and had a full house at the Mill Creek Lodge in Rincon. Chairman Ted Kandler opened the meeting and served as emcee for the evening. The group was made up of volunteers and others involved in some way in utilizing the services of this group.
Executive Director Glenda King asked everyone to stand and tell briefly about their involvement with the program. State Sen. Jack Hill was in the group and recounted his role in establishing a statewide fund for these programs across the state back in the 1980s. He said that fund has grown over the years and is now up to $44,000.
Effingham County Commissioner Myra Lewis read a proclamation making October Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Loose Threads Quilting Group of Guyton presented several small quilts, which are given to needy children every year. Ansley Howze and Garrett Howze provided dinnertime entertainment and local Verizon store manager Lanyae Bolden presented the group a check for $500.
Ruth Lee recapped the group’s history, recognizing the United Way’s Bonnie Dixon for her early work in getting the group organized. Lee reminded the group that Effingham’s program is the only one in the state that is a stand-alone agency.
Gussie Nease presented King a framed art piece to commemorate the program’s 20th anniversary, created by local artist, Marsha Lott. Ms. King said the piece would hang in their offices. Featured speaker Dr. George Dillard had been a key figure in the program’s creation when he was pastor of Rincon Christian Church.
“This is the heart of victim’s witness, to try and stop the cycle of violence,” he said.
Dillard said one of his proudest achievements in his life was to have had a hand in starting Effingham County’s Victim Witness Program. He said the aim of the group is to stop the cycle, changing the future, showing that there is love and peace in this world. A candlelight vigil was held following the banquet.