Tree Planting Honors Victims of Violence
OCO joined communities and victim service providers across the United States in hosting events and campaigns in recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The goal of this awareness week is to promote victims’ rights and honor crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. This year’s theme – Honoring Our Past, Creating Hope For The Future – celebrates the energy, perseverance and commitment that launched the victims’ rights movement and inspired its progress, while continuing to advance the cause of justice for crime victims.
“According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, millions of Americans are affected by crime every year,” said SAF Community Response Coordinator Stacie France. “Many will need ongoing care and resources.” Crime can leave a lasting impact on any person, regardless of age, national origin, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, or economic status.
Every year, OCO’s Services to Aid Families Program (SAF), Oswego County’s domestic violence and rape crisis program, along with the continuous support of community partners, commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week by planting a tree to honor victims of crime. The tree is used as a symbol to represent renewal and hope to those whose lives have been affected by crime. The goal is to plant a tree in all the towns, villages, and cities within Oswego County. Thus far, SAF has planted 17 trees throughout Oswego County, most recently in the Towns of New Haven and Scriba.
This year, the Village of Sandy Creek was honored to support the continuation of this annual event. The 18th annual tree planting ceremony was held on Friday, April 12th at the Annie P. Ainsworth Memorial Library, with a tree generously donated by the Oswego Walmart.
“We are honored to carry on the tradition of recognizing Crime Victims’ Rights Week by planting this tree as a way to honor these victims of crime in our community.” said Village of Sandy Creek Mayor Grant Rohrmoser.
Mayor Rohrmoser was joined by a number of dignitaries for the tree planting ceremony including NYS Assemblyman William Barclay, Jim Thomas of Senator Patty Ritchie’s Office, Jason Phelps, Deputy District Director for Congressman Anthony Brindisi, and Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes. All of which expressed their appreciation of those that advocate and support crime victims and the importance of recognizing all crime victims in this special way.
"It's always important to recognize crime victims and remember those in our day-to-day lives that are in pain. National Crime Victims' Rights Week allows us to raise awareness and help support victims of crime statewide," said Assemblyman Barclay. "OCO's Services to Aid Families' annual tree planting event signifies hope for crime victims and shows them they are not alone. I'm so thankful for the ongoing work this organization has done to benefit our community and am honored I had the opportunity to take part in the tree planting."
“The annual tree planting represents the ongoing nature of our work against domestic abuse and the continuous need to support victims,” added Oakes. “I’m truly grateful for the dedication and professionalism of the victim advocates from SAF.”
Funding provided through the New York State Office of Victim Services allows SAF to provide crisis intervention, counseling, emergency shelter, advocacy, and 24/7 hotline assistance. In addition, SAF will assist any innocent crime victim in filling out an application for crime victims’ compensation and providing follow up assistance and advocacy to the New York State Office of Victim Services. SAF Staff work directly with the New York State Office of Victim Services to advocate on behalf of victims of crime and help recover out of pocket expenses including, but not limited to; funeral expenses, medical bills, lost wages, loss of essential personal property, and crime scene clean up
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a crime and is in need of support or information, please call our Crisis Hotline 315-342-1600. The hotline is staffed by trained counselors and is available 24 hours. SAF is the domestic violence and rape crisis program for Oswego County and has provided crisis, supportive, advocacy and educational services throughout Oswego County for over 30 years.
Did you know? One of Oswego County’s largest employers, OCO provides more than 50 human service programs that touch the lives of approximately 16,000 county residents each year. OCO’s mission is to build partnerships that improve the quality of life and create successful communities. Visit OCO on the web at www.oco.org. Oswego County Opportunities is a member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County. Now you know ... it’s OCO!
Pictured here, from left, are Jim Thomas of Senator Patty Ritchie’s Office; Jason Phelps, Deputy District Director for Congressman Anthony Brindisi; NYS Assemblyman William Barclay; Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes; and SAF Community Response Coordinator Stacie France.