MCLB-Albany kicks off month-long child abuse awareness program

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

MCLB-ALBANY -- In recognition of the movement to end child abuse, an area Marine base kicked off a month-long program in support of the cause.

Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany hosted a Child Abuse Awareness Month proclamation ceremony on the base Thursday morning.

Blue pinwheels can now been seen throughout the installation in support of the effort.

"In this time of uncertainty and stress, coping with the needs of children can be overwhelming," said Health and Prevention Coordinator Brenda Ray. "The pinwheel is a happy, uplifting sign of childhood. They also send a message that we all have a part to play in preventing child abuse."

The idea behind getting the military community involved is to provide service members and their families information that would assist them in recognizing signs of child abuse and neglect, as well as the reporting options in the community, officials say.

"Our family advocacy program addresses issues such as child abuse so it (the impact of stress) doesn't get to the point that they are abusing children," Ray said. "If Marines have issues with their family, they won't be service-ready."

Thursday's event consisted of a half-mile "fun run" involving dozens of Marines followed by the proclamation signing and remarks from installation personnel.

The proclamation was read by Public Affairs Officer 2nd Lt. Kyle Thomas and signed by Lt. Col. Donald Finn, director of operations and training at the base.

"Three million children a year in the country are victims of abuse," the proclamation read. "All of us have to learn how to recognize when there is a risk to children. The Marine Corps is committed to building stronger family services.

"Protecting children is everyone's responsibility."

Finn has some personal attachments to this issue. His father was abused as a child, and eventually joined the Navy to leave his family's home in Minnesota.

"When we all joined the Marine Corps, we all knew we were held to a higher standard; the American people hold us to a higher standard," he said. "If you are undergoing stress, don't take it out on the child -- that's not honorable. Seek help."

The ceremony is the beginning of a series of events scheduled in the coming weeks. A unity day is planned for sometime later in the month, Ray said.

"We've got a month full of activities," she said.

Thursday's kick-off was held just outside MCLB-Albany's Marine and Family Services.

Child abuse generally comes in four forms: physical, sexual, emotional and neglect. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have statutes requiring certain people, including teachers and physicians, to report suspected cases of child abuse.