Lacombe Victim Services is marking its 30th anniversary with a ‘thank you to the community’ free BBQ slated to run June 23 in the Lacombe Police Service parking lot.
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“April 23 was our 30-year anniversary – we were incorporated on April 23, 1993,” said Program Manager Deb Barron.
“We are a police-based unit – we work with the Lacombe Police Service, so the majority of our files are from them. We also refer, inform, and support victims of crime and trauma,” she explained.
“A large part of what we do is also to support victims through the Criminal Justice System and find out what their needs are when something traumatic has happened. We can refer them to other agencies for counseling or help with whatever their needs are at that moment. That’s what we do.
“It’s all about helping them with what they need at that moment,” she said. “This is about helping people behind the scenes at their worst possible time.”
Guiding clients through the court process is also a big part of what Victim Services offers.
“We’ll go with them to court and support them through that, too.”
And as mentioned, suggesting other agencies or services that can help is a key part of it all as well. “There are a lot of agencies where their specialty is counseling for example or some other type of specific service.”
Lacombe Victim Services has five volunteer advocates who Barron described as a fabulous group of dedicated citizens.
“They are all caring and compassionate ladies. Some of our calls are pretty tough – from domestic violence to sudden death,” she said.
“They are amazing volunteers. We also have a volunteer board of directors who are phenomenal. I couldn’t do this without them, either. They support our programs; they support our mission, they support the work that we do.”
As for Barron, she first started with Victim Services 23 years ago.
“I just felt like I wanted to help people,” she said, adding that she noticed an ad in Red Deer for volunteers for the organization. “I thought, you know what? That’s something I would like to do. So I contacted them, and they pointed out that Lacombe needed volunteers.
“So I contacted them, and here I am 23 years later! I was a volunteer for 10 years,” she said.
It was a bit unnerving at first, but she quickly found it was something she was really passionate about.
“We are compassionate and we just want to help,” she said.
Volunteers are trained, and training continues throughout a volunteer’s time with Victim Services, too.
“Some of my days can be very stressful, and I can feel exhausted emotionally – but I love helping people,” she said. “That’s what brings me here every day is that I love to help, as do my volunteers.
“You can have someone come back to you a year or two later and say, ‘Thank you – I appreciate what you did for me that day’.”
She added that raising awareness is also important, as often some folks don’t fully know the scope of services that are available through Victim Services.
As to the BBQ, the staff was thinking how nice it would be to host a get-together to show the community how thankful they’ve been for the support over the years.
Folks will get a burger, a pop, and a bag of chips – and there is no charge.
“When you do fundraising, you need their help and we appreciate that. So this is our way of saying thank you to the community for all their love and support over the past 30 years.”