Special recognitions were made to honor Cpl. A. S. "Shannon" Loudin and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources staff of Lewis and Upshur counties Thursday during the Children's Memorial Flag Day luncheon in Buckhannon.
Each year, an individual is honored for efforts to make positive changes in the lives of children. Loudin spent part of last year recovering from the bullet he took in the chest while serving papers to a man in Elkins who was allegedly involved in a sexual assault case involving a 12-year-old child. Loudin also has worked on numerous child abuse and neglect cases over the past decade.
Loudin said that he knew he wanted to work with children when he decided to become a police officer.
The Inter-Mountain photo by John Wickline
Officials with law enforcement, county government and children’s health and welfare agencies gather Thursday on the Upshur County Courthouse plaza to raise the Children’s Memorial Day flag. The outline on the flag symbolizes children killed by violent acts in the past year. The Upshur County Commission proclaimed April 25 as Children’s Memorial Flag Day and the month of April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month.
"The day I decided that, I talked to my wife about it. I said, 'One day, I want to be able to work with kids. I want to be that guy that goes into schools and talks to kids and be some sort of a role model,'" Loudin said. "Never did I think that my career would bring me down to where I am now with the Crimes Against Children Unit and the great things that the state has put in force for kids."
Child Advocacy Center director Tracy Shroyer-Carlyle said, "The prevention and protection of children is every adult's responsibility."
DHHR workers from two counties also were given recognition at the luncheon. Department of Health and Human Resources customer service manager Mary Austin personally thanked the DHHR staff of Upshur and Lewis counties for its dedication. She said the job is not one that everybody can do or wants to do.
"We each go off in our different jobs, our different lives, but ultimately we're held together by a sense of community and by the nature of our jobs," Austin said. "Too often, our jobs involve abuse and neglect."