The wind picked up a little and a single pinwheel started to rotate. As it moved a little faster, another pinwheel spun. Then all of them were spinning – all 177.
The pinwheels were placed in the front lawn of the Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center on April 16 as part of a Child Abuse Awareness Rally held in Hot Springs. The 177 pinwheels represented the number of founded cases of child abuse in the past year.
The event was attended by St. Joseph’s Mercy staff, along with representatives from nearly all of Garland County agencies dealing with child abuse cases.
“Child Abuse Month is April and there’s a lot that goes on in our community that people are not aware of,” said Janice McCutcheon, director of the Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center, the state’s first hospital-based facility for child abuse and neglect. “We’ve had 177 true findings of child abuse in Garland County alone. There were almost 8,000 true findings in Arkansas.”
Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center at St. Joseph’s Mercy is an Accredited Member of the National Children’s Alliance. It was founded by St. Joseph’s Mercy in 2003 after it was learned that Garland County was part of one of Arkansas’ top three judicial districts in the filing of child maltreatment reports. The center is dedicated to providing comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse.
“I’m honored to be here and bring you greetings from the House of Representatives in the State Capitol. Something that we always strive to do is to hopefully make the place better for our children. This is one facility that actually does that,” said State Rep. John Vines (D-District 25). “It brings tears to my eyes when I think of [children] who have to experience the subject matter that we deal with here. So glad that we have this facility but so sad that we have a facility to deal with that.”
Other speakers included Garland County Circuit Court Judge Vicky Cook, Ouachita Children’s Center executive director Linda L. Ragsdale and KYE-YAC foundation founder Kye Masino, who placed the first pinwheel in the ground after the ceremony.
Before long, 177 pinwheels spun as a reminder.
St. Joseph’s Mercy is a not-for-profit, faith-based health facility with 27 medical clinics serving the health care needs of Hot Springs and its surrounding communities since 1888. It is designated as the southwest region’s only Level II Trauma Center and the region’s most preferred provider of health care services. On May 21, St. Joseph’s Mercy will become Mercy Hospital Hot Springs.
Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,500 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.