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AG Yost Announces Statewide Victim Assistance Award Winners


(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost this afternoon presented five statewide awards during the final day of the 28th Annual Two Days in May Conference on Victim Assistance in front of 1,200 attendees at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

“Justice is not a system,” Yost said. “It happens on purpose, one life at a time, and victims’ advocates know those lives. They know each one, because they touch them one by one and help them to heal. I thank our award recipients and all victims’ advocates for their work to help survivors of crime.”

Two Days in May is an annual training event where victims’ advocates from around the state receive updates about best practices, trends and developments in the field; network with colleagues who also care about victims; and honor those who are doing exceptional work.

This year’s awards winners are:

  • Detective Bertina King, Akron Police Department (Robert Denton Special Achievement Award) – Det. King is a 28-year veteran of the Akron Police Department and is considered the departmental expert in sexual assault investigations. She said she often meets people “on the very worst day of their life,” yet added, “I also have the opportunity to show them how things are supposed to be done by law enforcement.”
  • CeCe Norwood, founder of Nirvana Now! (Special Courage Award) – A survivor of abuse herself, Norwood’s organization is dedicated to the eradication of all forms of sexual violence. “We cannot do this work and be afraid,” she said. “If we’re afraid, then we’re not going to fully advocate and provide whatever that particular family or survivor needs.”
  • Community Advocates Outreach Project, Lucas County Sheriff’s Office – Drug Abuse Response Team (Promising Practice Award) – Recognizing the disease of addiction affects not only the identified person but their family and their community, the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office created the Drug Abuse Response Team (D.A.R.T.) in 2014. In the past five years, D.A.R.T. has worked with more than 7,500 people, many of whom are in at-risk communities. “When they come out to my school, if they touch the heart of one student, and that helps that one student make a better choice, they’ve just saved a life at my school,” said Teri Sherwood, principal at Bowsher High School. “I am forever grateful this program is available.”
  • Deborah Vaughn, Constituent Liaison in Ohio Attorney General’s Office (AGvocate Award) – Vaughn has passionately advocated for the victims she serves since her first day in the attorney general’s office back in 2000. “We have to try to do as much as we can to get them to where they were before the crime happened,” Vaughn said. “Can we do that at 100 percent? Absolutely not. But we have got to try to do as much as we can.”
  • Jeffery Samuel Jr., fifth grader at the School of Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati (Missing Children’s Poster Contest Winner) – Samuel says he has loved art since he was 2 years old. His winning poster depicts a house with the caption, “Bringing our missing children home,” representing a safe house for all children. “This house is for any children in need,” Samuel said. “In my poster there is a trail of hearts that represents the pathway to love and care. I care that these children should come home so they can have the attention that they need.”

NOTE: The Ohio Attorney General’s Office can provide video/still images from today’s luncheon for news download and use, including award recipient interviews. Please email to receive a download link.

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