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Individuals, agencies honored for standing against domestic violence

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POLSON — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Domestic Violence Education and Services hosted its annual “Taking a Stand Against Domestic Violence” awards luncheon at the Big Sky Art Bistro on Oct. 10. 

“These awards were a result of nominations from throughout Lake County and the Flathead Reservation for folks and agencies who ‘go above and beyond’ to provide assistance to those who have been affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking,” said DOVES executive director Jenifer Blumberg.

Leah Emerson was honored as health professional of the year. Emerson is director of nursing at St.Luke’s Healthcare in Ronan and has held that position for 20 years. 

St. Luke Community Healthcare Chief Operating Officer Steve Todd read from Emerson’s nomination that,  “Although doing what are called ‘rape kit’ exams are nothing anyone wants to do, Emerson is committed to performing them, and she does so in such a compassionate and caring way that the whole process becomes easier for all involved. “  

Two awards went to peace officers of the year Donald Bell and Ben Woods. Bell is a Flathead Nation Tribal Law Enforcement Officer, and Woods is a Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy. 

Two justice professionals were also honored. They are Joan Hart, City of Polson police and court clerk, and Bevra Jacobson, supervisor of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ victim assistance program and a prosecutor in the CSKT legal department.

Polson Police Detective Alan Booth and Polson City Judge A. Doug Olson introduced Hart.

Booth noted Hart’s passion for domestic violence victims and her concern for the best outcome for them. 

Sharon Silberman was chosen volunteer of the year. She is a member of the CSKT victim’s assistance advisory committee. 

DOVES is a private, non profit crime victim advocate organization located in Polson. Its mission is to address and prevent domestic and sexual violence in Lake County and on the Flathead Indian Reservation through community outreach, prevention education and information, and advocacy for victims of violent crime.  DOVES offers assistance with Orders of Protection, personal and legal advocacy, women’s and children’s support groups, a Legal Assistance for Victims program for civil issues, and emergency financial assistance. All services are free of charge. For more information, contact Blumberg at 883-3350.

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