McChord leadership honors victim advocates

Volunteer victim advocates and representatives from the McChord Field Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office pose for a photo with 62nd Airlift Wing leadership, April 27, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Leadership honored six victim advocates for volunteering more than 4,000 collective hours to helping Airmen (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez).

Volunteer victim advocates and representatives from the McChord Field Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office pose for a photo with 62nd Airlift Wing leadership, April 27, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Leadership honored six victim advocates for volunteering more than 4,000 collective hours to helping Airmen (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez).

Col. Stephen Snelson, 62nd Airlift Wing vice commander, thanks sexual assault victim advocates for their volunteer work April 27, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Victim advocates are volunteers who assist with the McChord Field Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program providing essential support, liaison services and care to victims (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez).

Col. Stephen Snelson, 62nd Airlift Wing vice commander, thanks sexual assault victim advocates for their volunteer work April 27, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Victim advocates are volunteers who assist with the McChord Field Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program providing essential support, liaison services and care to victims (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez).

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

Leadership of the 62nd Airlift Wing honored six volunteer sexual assault victim advocates, April 27, during the annual recognition event at the McChord Chapel Support Center.

The event was used to recognize McChord victim advocates who have gone above and beyond to help Airmen in need volunteering more than 4,000 hours at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.  

“We just like to take time to really thank people who’ve stepped up to do something that is not very easy to do,” said Heather Vanmill, McChord Field Sexual Assault Prevention and Response coordinator. “I think that the volunteer advocates are motivated to help people and they don’t sign up to get recognition.”  

Victim advocates are volunteers who assist with the SAPR program, providing essential support, liaison services and care to victims. Responsibilities of an advocate include providing crisis intervention, referral and ongoing support, as well as providing information on available options and resources to assist the victim in making informed decisions.

“I want them to see that we recognize all they do because they do a lot of community outreach, training and direct care,” said Vanmill. “We have an incredible team that is very well trained and knows how to respond in a compassionate way. They are all really invested in the program, believe in it and take it seriously.”

The six volunteer victim advocates were thanked by leadership for their hard work and presented plaques of appreciation.

“Thank you for everything you do — you are making a difference,” said Col. Stephen Snelson, 62nd Airlift Wing vice commander. “You give your time, devotion, care and compassion to help folks when they are at their most vulnerable.” 

The victim advocates who were recognized were:

Tech. Sgt. Michelle Rainey, 4th Airlift Squadron

Tech. Sgt. Dalynda Baker, 62nd Maintenance Squadron

Tech. Sgt. Deidre Barry, 446th Maintenance Squadron

Staff Sgt. Audry Akelkok, 62nd AW

Staff Sgt. Steven Swei, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

Sara Beldin, 62nd AW

To find out more information about the volunteer victim advocate program, call 253-982-0457.