Blue ribbons hold special message

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 15, 2005

If you have driven through Linden or Demopolis in the last few days you have probably noticed blue ribbons on many of the buildings. However, many people do not know the reason fro the ribbons. Te ribbons are actually a way for local businesses and citizens to show their support for Child Abuse Prevention Month, which is taking place all of April.

The ribbons have been widely distributed this year thanks to some help from a local florist.

Nellie Sullivan, owner of Silk Flowers and Gifts in Linden, has again volunteered to supply the ribbons this year. Sullivan said so far they have gotten a good response.

“We have put together a lot of ribbons,” Sullivan said. “I think we put together about 20 of them total.”

Charlotte Webb, who is the Resource Development and quality Assurance Supervisor for the Marengo County Department of Human Resources, put the campaign together. Sullivan said Webb asked them to help and they were more than happy to participate.

“Every year when Mrs. Charlotte comes around we try to help her out with whatever we can,” Sullivan said. “We try to do all the bows for them to pin on their shirts. Whatever we can donate we do.”

Many businesses jumped at the opportunity to participate in the blue ribbon campaign. Sullivan said they have supplied more ribbons than had been originally expected.

“They are all over Linden and Demopolis,” Sullivan said. “When we first started out we gave her 10 and she came back and needed two or three more. We ended up doing 10 more and had a total of 20.”

This is the second year Silk Flowers and Gifts has participated in the program. Sullivan said there is never any hesitation to participate because of the importance of this program.

“We did it last year for her and were glad to do it this year,” Sullivan said. “It is for a good cause. Kids mean a lot and anything we can help them with we are happy to do.”

During the past several years the blue ribbon has been widely recognized s a national symbol of child abuse awareness. The movement began in the spring of 1989, when a concerned grandmother, Bonnie Finney, of Norfolk, Va. Took a stand against child abuse after experiencing the death of her grandson. She tide a symbolic blue ribbon to her van as a signal to her community of her personal commitment to involve everyone in the battle to stop child abuse.

Bonnie’s own grandson, Michael Wayne “Bubba” Dickerson, was a tragic young victim and his death gave her the strength to encourage others to help in the fight against child abuse and neglect. The spirit of her blue ribbon grew and it inspired a statewide community based effort to join forces in the tragic battle.

The campaign has continued to spread making its way to Alabama and Marengo County.