McGrath Honors Outstanding Advocates Schmitt, Allen and Hicks
HELENA – Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath recently honored three outstanding crime victims’ advocates. McGrath made presentations to Helen Schmitt of Sidney, Tami Allen of Roundup and Coralee Hicks of Columbus at events this month.
Helen Schmitt is the director of the Richland County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and has been an advocate for 10 years. She has encouraged training for local law enforcement officers who are often the first to respond to calls of domestic violence, and she has been an active member of the Sidney community, organizing everything from candlelight vigils honoring victims, to creative fundraisers, to a successful Quit It! Stop smoking campaign.
Schmitt was also praised for her assistance educating the community about the role drug abuse plays in domestic violence.
In a letter nominating Schmitt, Sidney Police Chief Bob Burnison wrote, “Certain people have ways of saying and doing things that shake us to the core by earning our respect and working with us to accomplish a cause. We are very fortunate to have Helen Schmitt working with the Richland County Coalition Against Domestic Violence because she is that person.”
Allen has been an advocate in Musselshell County for three years. In his nomination, County Sheriff Woodrow Weitzeil said that Allen “always responds with a smile and comforting words for the victims no matter the time of day or night.” District Judge Randal Spaulding praised Allen’s knowledge and motivation to help victims, and praised her “tireless efforts to assist domestic violence victims.”
Child Protection Specialist Jason Larson said Allen doesn’t shy away from the tough cases, but handles them in an “honest, straight-forward manner” and with “an attitude of kindness.” Dispatcher Rosie Mercado praised Allen’s ability to comfort those who are afraid.
And Karen Leksy from the Musselshell County Attorney’s Office called Allen a willing team player and said she works “until the job is finished, whether it’s a part of her job, or someone else’s. Musselshell County Attorney Kent Sipe called Allen a “shining star for victims in our community.”
Coralee Hicks is the coordinator for the Tri-County Victim-Witness Program that serves Stillwater, Sweet Grass and Carbon Counties.
In a note supporting Hicks, Jessie McKenney, the Justice of the Peace in Sweet Grass County and City Judge in Big Timber, wrote that “It is often difficult for victims and witnesses to be heard or to accurately represent themselves to the court. Advocates such as Coralee are the key.”
Carbon County Attorney Robert Eddleman nominated Hicks, saying that she “goes above and beyond the requirements of her job. While she is an invaluable resource to the County Attorney’s Office, the victims of crime are the true beneficiaries of her hard work.”
Each year the Attorney General’s Office honors outstanding victim advocates. Nominees are evaluated based on their specific efforts on behalf of crime victims, length of service in the field, their role in relation to a victim service program and outstanding efforts on behalf of victims in general.