Colorful pinwheels for bright childhoods | NevadaAppeal.com

Colorful pinwheels for bright childhoods

Aly Lawson | alawson@lahontanvalleynews.com

Residents and community leaders donned blue and joined others Friday morning at Millenium Park to support Child Abuse Prevention Month, kicking off a month-long effort to raise child abuse awareness.

In his opening remarks, Churchill County Commissioner Carl Erquiaga said the month is a reminder that even one investigation is too many.

County supporters of the nationwide cause have set up blue pinwheels at various sites, representing the number of child abuse cases reported in the community in 2016. Also local businesses and government offices have put up posters and displayed colorful pinwheels to draw attention to the issue and serve as a reminder to help preserve bright childhoods. The city fountains were also dyed blue.

At the ceremony Friday, other officials and law enforcement who attended included Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford, Sheriff Ben Trotter, District Attorney Art Mallory, Comptroller Alan Kalt, The Art Center's Patricia Sammons, emergency medical service responders and Churchill County Social Services Director Shannon Ernst.

The mayor issued a proclamation for the month and other officials shared their thoughts.

"Thank you for all your hard work on behalf of the children," Tedford said to the crowd of about 30.

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District Court Judge Thomas Stockard was not able to attend due to meeting on the topic that morning in Carson City, but a representative in his place said what's being done for the children is imperative.

"We at the (Fallon) Police Department see positive actions today effect positive changes tomorrow," said sergeant John Riley, while holding his young son Jackson. "No one agency can or has the responsibility to do so."

Riley added the Fallon police are doing what they can to ensure happy childhoods.

Mallory drew from what other leaders have said about how a society isn't judged by how it treats the rich and powerful but those poor and powerless.

"We say, the child's welfare comes first," he said of his office, adding the county's agencies and attorneys work extremely well together to safeguard this.

Trotter spoke to his personal experience.

"I grew up in a house where every day somebody got beat," he said of his father. "It's what we expected."

Trotter emphasized young children have no choice and encouraged community members to speak up if something is noticed.

"They're the most vulnerable people in our society," he said of children, adding they're small, scared and don't understand. "I appreciate the efforts of everyone here … we in law enforcement take this very seriously."

Every week in April, a new public service announcement is shared on social media, websites and in print as well as on Fridays supporters are invited to wear blue.

The Nevada initiative's goal is to strengthen families and prevent abuse as well as build community commitments to safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children.

Contact Ernst to participate further or with questions at 775-428-0211 or SSDirector@ChurchillCounty.org. More information is also available at http://www.PreventChildAbuseNevada.org. Participants may use the social media hashtag #GoBlueNV.

The Churchill Community Coalition can also be contacted for valuable resources and skills to prevent abuse as well as methods for effective parenting. Call 775-423-7433 or visit http://www.ChurchillCoalition.com.

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