(WASHINGTON) - Beth Wolford of the Daviess County Prosecutor's Office was shocked and surprised to receive a visit Tuesday morning from U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett, who presented her with a 2012 Victim-Witness Award for her dedication in protecting the rights of victims.
"I had no clue," she said modestly. "I don't think I deserve it. It's part of my job."
Andrea McCann, of Washington Times-Herald reports, Prosecutor Dan Murrie nominated Wolford for the award, and he has a different opinion.
"Beth is an incredible legal assistant, but she's an even better person," he said. "All the citizens of Daviess County are fortunate to have her working at the prosecutor's office."
Murrie nominated Wolford for her outstanding contributions to the rights of crime victims - in particular, those in the Derek Williams murder case. Besides ensuring witnesses were where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be, and preparing and organizing exhibits, Wolford tended to the deceased victim's family.
"She fielded countless phone calls from family members and was always patient with their questions and requests," Murrie wrote in his nomination letter. "She was quick to humanize our approach to trial preparation - going so far as to ensure the victim's son's favorite snack was available in our conference room. Although all of these little details were impressive, it was her overall availability - to me, to the family, and specifically to the young sons of the victim that made her special."
Wolford said the Williams case hit home for her, as she has two sons of her own, and it's hard not to get attached to the children involved in such cases. She said she was honored Murrie chose to nominate her for doing her job.
What Wolford did, Murrie summarized, was restore faith in the justice system for a 14-year-old boy whose mother had been killed and who was asked to testify for the state at his father's murder trial.
"In my estimation, restoring that kind of faith is what victim advocacy is all about," Murrie wrote. "If you are looking for someone who epitomizes outstanding contributions to the rights of victims, you do not need to look any further than Beth Wolford."
Hogsett apparently agreed, as he awarded Wolford one of only five victim advocate awards in his 60-county jurisdiction, citing: "...Through her passion and professionalism, Beth provided exemplary assistance to victims in a dignified manner. It is with humble thanks and appreciation that the United States Attorney's Office presents Beth Wolford with 2012 Victim-Witness Award for her dedication and service to protecting the rights of victims."
The annual award is presented in recognition of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, which is April 22-28 this year and is themed "Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim." It honors those who go above and beyond the call of duty to assist victims of crime.
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