Community

‘Voices’ raises funds for victims

TULALIP — Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims called upon citizens of north Snohomish County for their support at their annual breakfast fundraiser to respond to the “Voices of Victims.”

The Orca Ballroom of the Tulalip Resort hosted the event on the morning of Nov. 9, with guests including city officials and law enforcement personnel from Marysville, Arlington and throughout the Puget Sound region, as well as Q13 Fox News anchor and host of “Washington’s Most Wanted” David Rose and Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe.

“I’ve worked with many of you in this room,” Rose said. “We all care about community safety and putting the bad guys away, but I support this organization because I also don’t want the victims or their loved ones to be forgotten.”

The annual “Voices of Victims” breakfast raises funds for Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims so that the Snohomish County-based non-profit agency can assist victims of crime — including the loved ones of homicide victims and adult missing persons where foul play is suspected — in navigating the criminal justice system, which it’s done by providing peer support and advocacy for victims of crime since 1975.

Marge Martin, interim executive director of Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims, struggled to maintain her composure as she talked about the long road that led from her sister’s brutal murder 11 years ago to Martin herself joining Families and Friends three years ago.

“I wasn’t looking for Families and Friends back then,” Martin said. “I didn’t even know it existed. I spent a full year in an absolute fog, not knowing who to turn to. You always think of these things as happening to other people.”

Martin told the audience she’s glad she joined Families and Friends, and is proud of the work she’s done with the group, including ongoing outreach efforts to secure much-needed funds and to make more people in the community aware of the program.

Myrle Carner, director of law enforcement services for “Crime Stoppers” of Puget Sound, praised Rose and “Washington’s Most Wanted” for the roles they’ve played in helping to apprehend criminals, and seconded Martin’s calls for donors to support Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims.

“We’ve got to have people who can provide compassion and advocacy for those whose lives have been devastated by violent crimes,” Carner said. “These people make society better.”

Nancy Hawley, director of victim services for Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims, described how the typical day of a victim advocate includes catching up with emails and voicemails from victims who “can’t push the memories away,” as well as sitting with victims through court proceedings for emotional support, and fighting for limited resources to provide donated locks for victims of home invasions and ramps for victims who have been rendered paraplegic by violent crimes.

“We go to the families,” Hawley said. “We don’t expect them to come to us. We listen to their stories, and we tell them about the services we offer, including our 24-hour crisis line for 10 counties in the state.”

Roe recalled how his father had passed away peacefully last year, after his family had been afforded a long window to say their final goodbyes to him, and pointed out that the loved ones of violent crime victims often don’t get that same chance to say goodbye.

“My dad loved baseball,” Roe said. “The last time I saw my father was one of the last games of the World Series. My family buys season tickets to the Mariners. To support this organization, I won’t be chipping in for my tickets, because I got to say goodbye to my father. Those who have lost someone they love to violent crime can’t survive without this organization.”

For more information on Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims, call 425-252-6081 or log onto www.fnfvcv.org.

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