Hometown Heroes filled Murfreesboro Civic Plaza to support child abuse victims. The dark clouds moved out and it was a beautiful afternoon for the 4th Annual Hometown Heroes Walk for Children on Friday, April 26, 2019.
The Hometown Heroes Walk for Children concluded Child Abuse Prevention Month events and highlighted the important work that every day heroes do to help child abuse and child sexual abuse victims.
"The Child Advocacy Center is grateful to all the Hometown Heroes on the Child Protective Investigative Team that make a difference every day in children's lives," said Child Advocacy Center director Sharon De Boer.
The Child Protective Investigative Team investigates child abuse allegations, aggressively prosecutes offenders, and helps children and families heal from the trauma. Team members include the Child Advocacy Center, Department of Children's Services, Murfreesboro Police Department, La Vergne Police Department, Smyrna Police Department, Rutherford County Sheriff's Office, District Attorney's Office, Our Kids Center, and the Guidance Center.
More than 300 people gathered at the Murfreesboro Civic Plaza. WKRN's multimedia journalist CB Cotton was the event emcee. The Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services Color Guard presented the flag while the national anthem played. Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold let the pledge of allegiance.
Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron welcomed the crowd of walkers. Ketron was a Tennessee State Senator from 2003 to 2018 where he championed for children and families.
The first speaker was WGNS Radio President Scott Walker who spoke from his heart. Walker is a strong advocate for child victims. He lobbied the state legislature to increase the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases.
The Honorable Juvenile Court Judge Donna Scott Davenport was the second speaker. She has served as the Rutherford County Juvenile Court Judge for the last 20 years. She genuinely cares about the children and youth in her court.
Five Hometown Heroes were honored for their dedication to child abuse victims. Child Advocacy Center Board President Terry Fann and Director Sharon De Boer presented the awards. The 2019 Hometown Heroes Awards were presented to the Honorable Judge Donna Scott Davenport, Murfreesboro Police Department Detective Kelvin Jones, Department of Children's Services Attorney Matthew Wright, District Attorney General Jennings H. Jones, and Rutherford County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Lisa J. Marchesoni.
The two mile walk concluded at the Child Advocacy Center with a reception, picnic lunch, and music courtesy of DJ "Rowdy" Yates. Local restaurants and community partners donated food including PATCO, Inc., Lewis Bakery, Department of Children's Services, DoubleTree by Hilton, O'Charley's, and the Child Advocacy Center board and staff.
Child Advocacy Center Accountant Jessica Wauchek announced, "Never underestimate the power of the women and men who protect children. The 2019 ‘Golden Sneakers' award went to the Rutherford County Department of Children's Services. They came out in full force, with 79 walkers wearing DCS t-shirts and comfy tennis shoes, and won the coveted ‘Golden Sneakers' award and most important--bragging rights." The runner ups for the "Golden Sneaker" award were Middle Tennessee Electric with 49 and Amazon with 42 walkers.
The Child Advocacy Center receives 80% of its funding from federal, state, and United Way grants. The other 20% of the funding comes from events like the Hometown Heroes Walk for Children. All proceeds from the event are used to provide crisis intervention services free of charge to child abuse victims and their families.
Local Hometown Hero #10 Boston Red Socks starting pitcher David Price was the event's presenting sponsor. Project One Four a David Price Foundation and other faithful event sponsors have made a difference in the lives of many Murfreesboro children through their faithful support of the Child Advocacy Center.
Other event sponsors include Redstone Federal Credit Union, Emergency Physicians of St. Thomas Rutherford, Middle Tennessee Electric, Murfreesboro Noon Exchange Club, , Murfreesboro Young Professionals, Ole South Properties, PATCO, Inc., Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital, Steel Technologies, Sudsy's Car Wash, Ascend Federal Credit Union, Bridgestone LaVergne Plant, Michael Busey State Farm, District Attorney's Office for the 16th Judicial District, Ferrous Processing and Trading, Fortress Dental, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union 429, Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Gale and Jonelle Prince, Rogers Group, Waldron Fann and Parsley Attorneys, Bill and Lucy Whitesell, Elizabeth Renegar Parker, Batteries Plus Bulbs, Sandra Smith Benson, Body and Face Medical Cosmetic Center, Bushido School of Karate, Don and Melanie Clayton, National Dance Clubs, Domino's Pizza, Franklin Synergy Bank, Hawkins Asphalt Paving, Mosquito Joe, The Peddler, John and Mary Rose Stracener, and Woodfin Funeral Chapel.
"This event would not have been possible without the many volunteer groups who donated their time and talents," continued Wauchek. "We are grateful for Junior League of Murfreesboro, Amerigroup, Department of Children's Services, and the Murfreesboro Citizen's Police Academy."
The event was chaired by Sgt. Paul Mongold and Officer Amy Norville from the Murfreesboro Police Department. Hometown Heroes committee members included: Elizabeth Benton, Larry Flowers, Venessa Hyer, Det. Kelvin Jones, Det. Andrea Knox. Christina Moody, Brittnie Noble, Catherine Post, Amanda Pruitt, Officer Sheree Robertson, Kristina Troglen, Monica Watson, Jessica Wauchek, and Det. Michael Yates. The Sponsorship Committee was comprised of Child Advocacy Center board members Aurelia Holden, Catherine Post, and Tracy Sheppard.
"The Child Advocacy Center was blessed with an outstanding Hometown Heroes Walk Committee and an amazing Sponsorship Committee," said De Boer. "We have hosted 10 walks starting with Andrea Walks for Tennessee's Children in 2004 and this committee worked their hearts out to make this our most successful event. We were so excited that over 300 people showed their support of child abuse victims! The Hometown Heroes on the committee donated their time, talents, musical abilities, and cooking skills to make the walk a huge success!"