Crime victims honored at Canadian County vigil

Chisholm Trail Park hosts event; weeklong observance proclaimed

Members of the Canadian County Coordinated Community Response Team attend Monday night’s 33rd Annual Crime Victim Survivor Vigil in Yukon: Back row from left, Clay Mattox, Red Rock Behavioral Services; Sheena Flaherty, Red Rock Behavioral Services; Jennifer Coulson, Cardinal Point Family Justice Center; Suzanne Grimes, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma; Lt. William Carpenter, Mustang Police Department; Capt. Jeffrey Collins, Mustang Police Department; Capt. Brad Anderson, Oklahoma City Police Department, and Joanne Riley, The CART (Child Abuse Response Team) House; Front row from left, Pauline Gideon, ICAN (Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network); Kimberley Moore, District Attorney’s Office; Kyle Woodard, Kommunity Kindness; Kristie Chandler, Cardinal Point Family Justice Center; Dana Lutz, Court-Appointed Special Advocates; Kalee Vculek, The CART House; and Connor Reece, Canadian County Children’s Justice Center. (Photo by Cara Pattison)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Victims and survivors of crime across Canadian County were honored this week.

National Crime Victims Rights Week was proclaimed April 23-29 in Canadian County.

Crime victims, survivors and advocates gathered Monday night in Yukon for Canadian County’s 33rd Annual Crime Victim Survivor Vigil.

As part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Tonia Byers reads the poem, “The Art of Survival,” to her fellow crime victim survivors and advocates at the Chisholm Trail Gazebo. (Photo by Cara Pattison)

Nonprofit agencies like Cardinal Point Family Resource Center, Canadian County Child Abuse Response Team, Intervention Crisis and Advocacy Network, Court-Appointed Special Advocates, and others had resource booths on-site before the vigil started.

For decades, a candlelight vigil for crime victims was held in courtroom one at the Canadian County Courthouse in El Reno.

Organizers decided to reimagine the special event by moving this year’s vigil to a larger venue – Chisholm Trail Park in Yukon – to encourage more participation and higher attendance.

Canadian County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson read a resolution proclaiming National Crime Victims Rights Week at Monday’s weekly commissioners’ meeting.

“Each year in April, we make this proclamation,” Anderson said. “The District Attorney’s Office and others really work hard to make sure the needs of crime victims are met.”

Canadian County Assistant District Attorney Tommy Humphries thanked the Board of County Commissioners for recognizing Crime Victims Rights Week.

Humphries credited the county’s elected officials for investing “tremendous time and resources” in recent years into helping victims and service providers that provide support in Canadian County.

Cardinal Point Family Justice Navigator Amanda Hillyard shares a moment of silence for crime victim survivors at the 33rd Annual Crime Victim Survivor Vigil. (Photo by Cara Pattison)


Among highlights of Canadian County’s National Crime Victims Right Week resolution are:

  • The observance provides an opportunity to recommit ensuring the accessible, appropriate and trauma-informed services are offered to all victims of crime.
  • Canadian County is dedicated to strengthening victims and survivors in the aftermath of crime, building resilience in its communities and victim service providers, and bringing hope and healing to all victims and survivors.
  • County officials reaffirm their commitment to creating a victim service and criminal justice response that assists all crime victims throughout the year.

Speaking for all three county commissioners, Chairman Anderson expressed a “sincere gratitude and appreciation for those community members, victim service providers and criminal justice professionals who are committed to improving our response to all victims of crime so that they may fight relevant assistance, support, justice, and peace.”