Crowd turns out for Blue Ribbon event

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 14, 2016

DSC_0019 copy

Residents from across Covington County gathered on the Court Square in Andalusia on Wednesday morning to help raise awareness of child abuse and proclaim April Child Abuse Prevention month in Andalusia.

Child Advocacy Center Executive Director and Family Advocate Kaci Perry explained that awareness about child abuse must be raised.

“I know when I took this position that I had no clue about the amount of abuse that goes on in Covington County,” Perry said. “I think a lot of people in the community are the same way I was. Not that they don’t care about it, but they just don’t know the extent that it goes on right here in our county. They think that’s a crime that only happens a lot in big cities, but that just isn’t the case. That is why what we do here is important. People need to realize that is a big problem here and it’s our job to raise awareness on it.”

City of Andalusia councilmember Ralph Wells spoke to the crowd on the importance of child abuse prevention and said that more must be done to increase the awareness in the community.

On behalf of Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson, Wells called upon the community to take action and recognize the importance of being aware.

Covington County District Attorney Walt Merrell spoke next to the crowd and opened with a quote from Frank Warren.

“It’s the children that the world almost breaks who grow up to save it,” Merrell quoted.

Merrell instructed the crowd to really think about that quote and the truth that it holds.

“Who will be the next Anna Frank or Martin Luther King Jr.,” Merrell said. “It could be any one of these kids that you help to save.”

Merrell gave the grim statistics of child abuse crimes in the U.S, the state and in Covington County.

“Child abuse crosses all races and religions,” Merrell said. “Approximately five children die each day as a result of child abuse and most of those are under the age of 4.”

Merrell challenged the crowd to keep fighting the fight and finish the race.

“I challenge each of you to keep the faith in the face of darkness,” Merrell said. “By finishing this race, you may save the kid that will save the world.”