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'So important': Victim services volunteers honoured (11 photos)

'It gives us an opportunity to say thank you to them for working 24/7,' says OPP superintendent of ceremony held near Orillia

On Thursday, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and victim services organization from across Ontario got together at the Hawk Ridge Golf Club in Severn to recognize volunteers who help support survivors and victims of crime and tragedy.

“Events like today are so important for many reasons as they give us the opportunity to thank and appreciate the long-term and outstanding volunteers of our service who support survivors and victims of crime and tragic circumstance,” said Kim Kneeshaw, executive director of North Simcoe Victim Services.

The ceremony, which was presented by the OPP as a Victims and Survivors of Crime recognition event saw more than 25 recipients honoured.

“This is an incredible opportunity to acknowledge our incredible volunteers that work tirelessly with our victims of crime and alongside the OPP, and it gives us an opportunity to say thank you to them for working 24/7, even getting called out overnight,” said OPP Supt. Veronica Eaton.

“This event is also a way for victims of crime, even though they are not here today, to say thank you to the volunteers who have helped them through times of crisis and tragic circumstances.”

The ceremony included victim services from Caledon/Dufferin, Kawartha/Haliburton, North Simcoe, Simcoe County, Peterborough/Northumberland, and Muskoka, as well as the OPP.

Each division picked up to five volunteers to be awarded at the ceremony. Each recipient took home a certificate, a plaque, and a glass trophy.

The following are the award recipients from all regions:

  • Adrienne Readman (North Simcoe Victim Services)
  • Montana Jervis (North Simcoe Victim Services)
  • Sherry Telford (North Simcoe Victim Services)
  • Margie Morey (Caledon/Dufferin Victim Services)
  • Lynn Topping (Caledon/Dufferin Victim Services)
  • Stephen Green (Kawartha Haliburton Victims Services)
  • Scott Orsan (Major Crime Unit, OPP)
  • Stefanie MacIntosh (victim specialist, OPP)
  • Inspector Tim Tatchell (Kawartha Haliburton Victims Services)
  • Terry Edmonds (Victim Services of Simcoe County)
  • Robert Burke (Victim Services of Simcoe County)
  • Karen MacDonald (Victim Services of Simcoe County)
  • Jon Duff (Muskoka Victim Services)
  • Marly Hanna (Muskoka Victim Services)
  • Zach Belfry (Muskoka Victim Services)
  • Jodee Hobor (OPP)
  • Jamie Batisse (OPP)

During the ceremony, Kneeshaw explained how the program has supported a vast number of victims over the years in the region.

“Last year alone, we responded to over 900 calls," said Kneeshaw, noting calls have increased regularly over the last 25 years the agency has been in Orillia.

She also noted it's a primarily volunteer organization.

“We used to have over 80 volunteers on the roster, and now we are down to roughly 50 volunteers, so we’re really down on our volunteer count (and) ... for our vast coverage area, we need lots of volunteers,” she said.

After the awards were handed out, to end the ceremony, Det.-Sgt. Tanya Tremble, of OPP Central Region, spoke about a project called Reach Out, which encourages victims of crime to seek support and never to go unnoticed.

One message that was common at Thursday’s event was about how services provided to victims have improved in recent years.

“Our support services have come a long way. Where they will be in five to 10 years is hard to predict, but in the last couple of years, I have seen vast improvements in the support system for victims of crime, and I can see it getting better over the years,” said Eaton.

More information about North Simcoe Victim Services can be found here.