BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- On Wednesday, members of the community were recognized for their efforts in helping victims of domestic violence, drug abuse, and other violent acts. Advocates were honored with awards, with the intent to bring attention to all types of abuse, and encourage people to speak up when they see it.
"There are a lot of children out there, teenagers primarily, who are runaways, who have been abandoned by their families, who have left their families for any number of different reasons, and many of the organizations that we recognize here today take these children in and work with them and help them," said U.S. Attorney, Thomas Delahanty.
Several advocates for the support of abuse victims and victims of violent crimes were honored for the efforts by the United States Attorney. One award recipient is retired Bangor Police Chief, Don Winslow- recognized for his work in helping victims of domestic violence.
"It was an honor to be recognized for some work that I've done quite some time ago now, and it's a pleasure to see some of the things that we were able to put in place when I was on the task force dealing with domestic violence that are still in place today," Winslow said.
Another award was given to a public speaker who shares his own drug related tragedy with students in order to educate them on why they should say no to drugs.
"My son Will died five years ago and one month ago this morning from a heroin overdose," said Skip Gates. "My sense is that it helps get the word out to kids that if they make a poor choice, either with drugs, driving while drinking, any number of behaviors, that it doesn't just affect them, it affects those of us that love them.
While awards are appreciated, action and education are the real goal of theses advocates. It is their hope that through their efforts and the efforts of others working to end all types of abuse, that people will understand that victims need help and not blame.
Marjorie Withers, Executive Director of Community Caring Collaborative of Washing County, said, "Not only is it not the victim's fault, it's not the runaway's fault, in my case it's not a baby's fault for being born dependent on substance. What we've come to realize is that these really are community issues."