Local advocate gains statewide honors | CraigDailyPress.com

Local advocate gains statewide honors

Josh Nichols

A Craig resident gained statewide recognition last week for the work he does with the children who are victims of or witnesses of domestic violence at home.

State Attorney General

Ken Salazar recognized Carl Balleck as “Advocate of the Year” at

a Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence rally on the

west steps of the state capitol Tuesday.

Balleck has volunteered for the local Advocates Crisis Support Services for six years

Salazar, one of the speakers at the rally, called children the “silent victims of domestic violence.”

Pat Tesmer, director of the local Advocates Crisis Support Services, said Balleck deserved it.

“He does so many different things for us,” she said.

Balleck is an advocate for male victims, answers the crisis line and counsels local children dealing with domestic violence, Tesmer said.

“This award is huge,” she said. “Nominations were accepted from all over Colorado. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the honor.”

Tesmer told a story of a local teenager with whom she recently spoke.

The teen, who is now 17, began receiving counseling from Balleck when he was 12 to help deal with a situation at home in which his mother was a victim of domestic abuse.

“The two used to go on walks together and just talk,” she said. “He asked me how Carl was and told me he’s wanted to call him and tell him how much he meant to him when he was younger. Carl does such a good job with these kids.”

The ceremony on the steps of the capital was emotional, she said, because when he accepted the award he thanked the local advocates.

“When he was selected it was humbling because he got up there and thanked us,” she said. “We are the ones who appreciate him because he’s done so much.”

Balleck said it scares him how many children are impacted by domestic violence.

The fact that 50 percent of children who witness domestic violence will be arrested for committing a violent act at some point in their life is even more frightening, he said.

“That’s why I want to work with these children,” he said. “I want to help them realize that they have a choice. I just want to help in any way I can. It’s a scary thought that so many children are involved with domestic violence.”

He said he sees how hard it is for those children and hopes he can help them cope.

“I hope my contribution can help them get through it,” he said.

The “Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence Robbie Rossman Child Advocate of the Year Award” honors Robbie Rossman, who was an advocate for children in Colorado for more than 15 years until she died last year.

After her death, the Children’s Advocacy Committee of the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence decided to honor her memory by giving an annual award in her name.

Friday morning, the local Advocates board gathered to honor Balleck.

Board president Carol Stewart spoke on behalf of the board in extending its appreciation to Balleck.

“We’re very proud of Carl,” she said before giving Balleck a hug. “He gives above and beyond.”

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