When asked to give the keynote speech at a crime victims community ceremony, Greg Holtmeyer, of The Phoenix Project, said he accepted immediately.
"This is my fourth presentation this week," he told those assembled at William Woods University, which offered space for this ceremony acknowledging Callaway County Crime Victims' Week. "My goal is to make people uncomfortable everywhere I speak."
The Friday afternoon event was attended by law enforcement officers, a Color Guard from Missouri Department of Corrections, singers from Fulton High School's chamber choir, and representatives from the community and other groups.
Emcee George Garner, an associate professor at WWU, recited a list of people he gave thanks to: Law enforcement, court systems, those who oversee accountability and management of offenders, crime victim advocates and more. Two checks, donated by inmates at Fulton Reception and Diagnostic Center's Restorative Justice Organization and the Doris Masek Foundation presented two checks, totally $650, to representatives of Missouri Girls Town. The checks were accepted by Darianne Maclin, director of development and advancement.
"What makes us special at Missouri Girls Town are the girls we serve," she said. "They are willing to stand up and advocated for themselves, no matter how far they've been pushed down. And they stand up and advocate for others. I love my job and I love these girls."
Chad Vanderhoff, who served in the Air Force, spoke about the Pathway to Military Enlistment initiative at Missouri Girls Town.
"Our vision is to provide services to youth who have started their lives off in the wrong direction," he said.
Holtmeyer said he is in strong support of proposed state House Bill 15-90.
"It seeks to eliminate the statue of limitations for childhood sexual abuse," he said. "Sixteen states have dared to stop protecting the child (molester) and protect the child instead."
Awards were also presented. Two Callaway County Sheriff's Office investigators received certificates of recognition during the ceremony. Investigators Bettina Korte-Sweede and Jeff Harding received certificates of recognition for their diligent work on a child sexual abuse case that led to more than 30 felony charges being filed in Callaway County. Korte-Sweede also received a second certificate of recognition for the excellent work she does daily to assist domestic violence victims in conjunction with CARDV. Both investigators were nominated by outside community partners.