FOP donates $4,500 to children’s advocacy center
Published 3:04 pm Wednesday, October 7, 2015
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
CHELSEA – The Shelby County Fraternal Order of Police presented a $4,500 check to Owens House, a children’s advocacy center in Columbiana, on Oct. 6 at Forest Oaks Elementary School.
“This is the largest donation the Fraternal Order of Police has ever made to the Owens House,” Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Clay Hammac wrote in an email Oct. 1. “We’re very excited.”
More than half of the proceeds from the 11th annual FOP Golf Tournament held on Aug. 27 at Ballantrae Golf Club comprised the check, Hammac said.
Owens House Executive Director Cindy Greer said the center’s partnership with the Shelby County FOP and local law enforcement has been active for a long time.
“It (the partnership) allows us to direct those funds to victims for counseling services and prevention and personal safety programs in schools,” Greer said. “We couldn’t do our job and our initial part of talking to kids without law enforcement.”
Since its creation in 2003, Owens House has provided counseling services for abuse victims and their families, in addition to conducting forensic interviews with victims and holding prevention programs for children throughout the county.
Owens House serves about 350 children a year, a number that has increased by 25 percent from 2013 to 2014, Greer said.
The center reaches about 5,000 through its prevention program.
“I’ve always thought the FOP serves an integral part in developing of law enforcement professionals,” Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego said. “They gain that valuable experience.”
Hammac, a past president of the FOP, said the group started its annual donation to Owens House five years ago as a public demonstration of how much it values the services the center provides.
Multiple sponsors and team participants throughout the community have contributed to the golf tournament and helped the FOP reach its donation goals, he said.
“When I was president, the Shelby County FOP decided to dedicate its philanthropy to Owens House,” Hammac said, noting the donation has increased every year. “We depend on services provided by Owens House.”