Hoping to raise awareness about the prevalence of child abuse in Warren County, McMinnville’s Evening Exchange Club has posted a reminder on Court Square about the cycle of abuse that sees five children die every day in the United States.
“It’s not just in the big cities,” said McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley in his address of the crowd gathered for the ceremony. “It’s right here in McMinnville, Tennessee.”
Haley issued a proclamation along with County Executive John Pelham making April Child Abuse Awareness Month in Warren County. The proclamation went hand in hand with the Exchange Club’s dedication of the Healing Field of Flags, which will sit in The Lot downtown as a reminder of the ongoing child abuse crisis.
“I’ve been to some larger towns where there are up to 1,500 flags each with the name of a child who has died from child neglect and abuse,” said McMinnville Evening Exchange Club president Bill Brock. “Just seeing that will bring tears to your eyes, knowing that each flag represents a child that died from abuse.”
Last year, the local Children’s Advocacy Center worked 245 serious child abuse cases. The center serves Warren and Van Buren counties.
“We have to stand up to child abuse,” said District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis, who was at the ceremony along with several investigators and board members from Children’s Advocacy Center.
Brock noted the flags are there as an attention-getter, to remind passersby about the issue of child abuse.
“I wish child abuse would go away, but it’s something that will be with us forever,” Brock concluded, noting the National Exchange Club goal is the prevention of child abuse.