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Help comes unexpectedly to two local victims of crime

He had struck her before, but this time the blow came as she was holding their new child."My mom had always told me, and my dad too. If a man is going to hit you once, he will again,'' the young mother said.She had secretly lined up an apartment ...

He had struck her before, but this time the blow came as she was holding their new child.
“My mom had always told me, and my dad too. If a man is going to hit you once, he will again,’’ the young mother said.
She had secretly lined up an apartment in case the abuse continued. She made the move.
“It’s really hard to leave the person that you love, but at the same time you have to look out for your children. You have to do what’s best for them,’’ she said.
She walked out with her 2-month-old child in hand and $8 and some change in her pockets. She had maybe 20 diapers with her. Too embarrassed to tell out-of-town family of her plight, she hunkered down in the unfurnished apartment and wondered: “How are we going to make it?’’
The $8 went to buy a rocking chair.
Her predicament became known to Sarah Corder, paralegal and victim/witness services coordinator for Willmar city prosecutor Thomas Anderson. Most every day, Captain Mike Anderson or someone from the Willmar Police Department will deliver the files of cases the police are working on to the prosecutor’s office.
Police had responded to the domestic incident. Corder knew charges would likely be making their way through the court system. In the meantime, what of the young victim?
The answer came at the Police Department. An office worker who wishes to be anonymous took it upon herself to collect items to help her out. Diapers and wipes, toys, baby clothes, a blanket, and a chair for the infant are among the items.
It was all waiting in the city prosecutor’s office when Corder called the young mom and told her to come over when she could arrange a ride.
“I just feel really fortunate that someone actually cared to help us when we needed it the most,’’ said the mother. “They went above and beyond to help us.’’
The support helped her maintain her resolve, she said. Lonesome and worried, she admits there were moments when the thought of going back to the abuser seemed easier than the route she had chosen. But she decided her difficulties were worth bearing. “Because what matters is her,’’ she said of her new baby. “When she grows up, she will realize that mommy did what’s best.’’
Hers is hardly the only story where doing what’s best for the victims of crime can depend on the help of those called to serve.
Only shortly before the young mother’s predicament came to her attention, Corder was looking for a way to help the victim of a bicycle theft. He had straightened out his own life, maintaining sobriety and getting by on very limited means. A bicycle was his only means of transportation.
He was played the sucker. He was approached by someone outside of a local convenience store and asked if he would go inside to buy him a soft drink. The man took off with the bike.
Police caught up with the bike thief. The bike had been destroyed. Everyone knew that if the court eventually ordered the defendant to make restitution, it would never happen, and certainly not in a timely fashion if it did.
This time it was a directive by Mayor Marv Calvin that came to the rescue. The mayor had instructed that the proceeds from the mayor’s prayer breakfast be set aside for use when situations came up that could not be properly addressed through the normal channels.
Captain Anderson and the community service officer tapped the fund to purchase a bicycle at Wal-Mart for the victim. He too received a call from Corder to come down to the Anderson law office, where he was surprised to find a new bike waiting for him.
“He was pretty choked up,’’ Corder said.
Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt said his officers and staff are more often than others to be in a position to see the needs of people. There are situations where they have chipped in funds of their own to help, or in other cases, arranged for help from emergency sources.
The chief said the prayer breakfast fund was also tapped recently to buy bus tickets for a homeless man. He had been living outside in the cold and had no financial means to go anywhere. He refused services. When officers learned he had family out of state, they purchased the tickets to send him to family.
Corder said it can often be difficult to help victims of crime. They can be hard to reach. Many are reluctant to deal with the system.
Yet the help can make a real difference.
The young mother and her daughter are looking forward to their first Christmas together. Their apartment now has a Christmas tree and some furnishings and, of course, the gifts for the young child.
Yes, some days are better than others, she said. She still is coping with the question: “How can you still love someone who did that to you? You try to figure out why.’’
Yet no matter how low her spirits might sink, she said her daughter always lifts them. “I look at her every morning and she’s smiling at me.”

Related Topics: CRIME
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