BONIFAY — Holmes County Board of County Commissioners approved of a proclamation declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month during their Sept. 10 meeting.
“I’ve been asked to speak a little on domestic violence,” said Police Chief Chris Wells. “There’s an average of 10 arrests a week related to domestic violence and if you do the numbers it’s two a day.”
He said that since 2010 there have been 75 cases a year with a trend that’s increasing and for every one that reports domestic violence there’s seven that go unreported.
“A local task force has been created called the Washington Holmes Domestic Violence Task Force,” said Wells. “Victims need to know they have options.”
Sherry Snell, Administrative Assistant for the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners also gave her testimony against domestic violence.
“I was a victim of all these kinds of abuses for 10 years,” said Snell. “I was being abused when a lot of you first met me and I’m sure none of you ever knew. Domestic violence happens every day and it could be happening to someone you come into contact with on a regular basis and never know it.”
She said it happens to wives, sisters, mothers, daughters, friends and even men.
“Victims are embarrassed about what’s going on because the abuser threatens their victims and once the victims do leave then the abuser looses control and attacks them with a vengeance,” said Snell. “I know that all too well. I had to take my children and move from my home many times under the direction of law enforcement and I’d have police parked by my driveway on many occasions because they knew the abuser and what he was capable of.”
She said she was lucky that her case was taken seriously.
“A lot of times abusers have a way of making it look like the victim is the crazy one,” said Snell. “Right now my abuser is in jail but he won’t be for very long. I have to watch my back and have a safety plan in place for me and my children because abusers don’t just go away and they can be very patient about getting what they want.”
She said, “Domestic violence awareness is the only way to make victims survivors.”
“I can proudly say that I’m a survivor,” said Snell. “I’m here today to ask for your support by signing this proclamation of domestic violence awareness.”
Wells also announced that there would be Domestic Violence Awareness walk from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 11 at Doctors Memorial Hospital.
“This will include a walk for anyone who can get pledges to raise money,” explained Missy Sword Lee, Chair of the Washington Holmes Domestic Violence Task Force, at a previous event. “The walk will be around the hospital's walking path. There will also be a ‘walk in her shoes’ event for men to participate by wearing high heels for pledge money.”
She said that at the end of night there would be a vigil where luminaires can be purchased in advance for $10 and will be lit during a special ceremony where victims and survivors are recognized while survivors are sharing their stories.
“We have sponsorship packages available for local businesses and individuals that have a nice incentive package to go with the level that they choose to give,” said Lee. “We will have free food, give-aways, fun for the kids, vendors and entertainment. That entertainment will consist of local talent but we will also have an award winning artist singing as well, which will be announced when I finalize it.”
For more information contact Lee at 850-596-3288, WashingtonHolmesDVtaskforce@yahoo.com or P.O. Box 216, Chipley, Fl. 32428.
Video of this portion can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8MKZl9hoB0&list=UUPuwupF8yBIiyo9_Zh59IYw.
Board also approved of a proclamation declaring September as Suicide Prevention Month.
“Life Management is the source for the suicide hotline,” said Teresa McDonald, a representative from Life Management. “We appreciate the support of the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners in helping spread the word.”
Board approved of Chair Monty Merchant’s recommendation to have the county’s purchase order cutoff set for Sept. 16, with the exception of emergency purchases.
“We usually have a cutoff time for purchase orders after we’ve finished that year’s budgeting,” said Merchant.
Board approved of increasing their deductible for Catastrophic Inmate Medical to $50,000 to reduce the premium.
After reviewing three bids for Property and Casualty Insurance the Board approved of Public Risk Management.
Board approved of leasing a grader for 30 days at $7,000 per month to be paid with FEMA funds for Commissioner Bobby Sasnet’s district with a vote of three to two, with Commissioners David Whitaker and Bill Parish voting “no.”
Sasnet explained that he had a grader down and there was a 95 percent chance that the transmission is broken.
“There’s metal shavings in the transmission fluid,” said Sasnet. “It’s a bad time of the year with FEMA here. We’ve got to get these roads done.”
County Attorney Jeff Goodman advised that due to the state of the roads because of the rains the least wouldn’t have to go to bid because it was considered an emergency.
“In 30 days we need to bid it out because I’m not agreeing to anything past 30 days,” said Williams.
Williams informed them that his dirt loader was broken and he was receiving quotes back for $14,000 to $30,000 to fix it.
“Good news is that the excavator that was broke is fixed,” said Williams. “We took it back and had it fixed on their dollar. Hopefully we can use that until we can figure out what we want to do with the loader.”
Merchant informed the Board that he had a Road Technician position open and Board approved of him advertising the position for three days in-house and then to the public after that.
Goodman informed the Board that he had a draft copy of the resolution for probation services completed, which will be put on the agenda for approval for the meeting at the end of September.
The next Board of County Commission meeting is set for 6 p.m. on Sept. 24.