Governor recognizes local associate warden
“This award is not really about me,” Mullin said. “It’s mostly about former LFS Executive Director Linda McAndrews and current LFS Executive Director Darla Freeman. I’m accepting this award from the governor, but in my mind the award is really for the accomplishments of Linda McAndrews and Darla Freeman. They’ve done some wonderful things.”
According to Mullin, “Linda took charge of a grassroots organization and then took advantage of funding opportunities that were available. She did some amazing things. My involvement on the board was helping with guidance and policy decisions that helped Linda grow the organization.”
Mullin said during his tenure on the board, LFS has grown from a little one-room Uptown office staffed by volunteers into an non-profit organization with paid staff and an office appropriate to offering services such as confidential counseling.
He said the organization has expanded its reach into the community to offer a variety of vital services under the victims of crime umbrella.
For example, Mullin said LFS used to house victims in motel rooms or small, rented houses, but the organization now owns and operates its own, multiuse shelter.
The organization’s suicide hotline now serves victims of sexual assault, rape and other emergencies.
He characterized his opportunity to meet the governor and John Walsh, the host of the “America’s Most Wanted” television show during the awards ceremony as “interesting” and said the award was “the biggest one I’ve ever gotten.”
“These 12 Californians are being recognized for doing the most compassionate, courageous and selfless work there is —helping victims of crime," said Schwarzenegger. “In doing so, they are turning their own pain into strength for others. I commend each of them for standing up and making a difference and for showing such leadership and dedication to their fellow Californians.”
This is the first time the governor has presented the Crime Victim Advocate Awards after he reinstated them last year. The advocates receiving awards were nominated by their peers or by members of their communities.
Darla Freeman, the executive director of Lassen Family Services, a private nonprofit corporation that provides free services for crime victims in Lassen County, helped nominate Mullin for the award. Mullin has served on the LFS board of directors since 1994.
“Matt has demonstrated his dedication and commitment to serving victims of crime in many capacities, including his continued support of LFS for program growth and expansion,” Freeman said, “Matt has dedicated a significant amount of time to building the infrastructure of LFS in order to equip the staff to respond to crises of all types in Lassen County including domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, child abuse and neglect, homelessness, substance abuse, mental health and suicide. In addition, he implemented a continuous quality improvement plan, to systematically review and evaluate the programs and services provided to victims and survivors of crime in Lassen County.”
Freeman said Mullin was instrumental in adding new programs and services at LFS that are familiar to many county residents.
She said the added new programs and services include the sexual assault and rape crisis program, domestic violence transitional housing, healthy environments (a male batterer’s treatment program), child abuse prevention, intervention and treatment program and CASA (court appointed special advocate’s program).
Expanded services include parent education, legal aid, emergency housing, and a transitional shelter for victims of crime in rural Northeastern California.
Freeman said, “Through program reviews, state and national evaluation studies, the agency has been designated as a leader in the field of victim’s services in California. This agency has received increased state and federal funding, which facilitated the purchase of a large business office complex and a permanent shelter for women and children. The agency has benefited from the improved infrastructure, professional development, and the collaborative relationships established as a result of Matt’s leadership. Matt has not received any state or national recognition for his efforts, although he is directly responsible for intervention into the lives of men, women and children who are victims of crime in California.”
Freeman said Mullin’s work as a liaison between the prisons and the community “helped to establish confidence and credibility in the level of expertise of the providers of victim’s services,” at LFS. “Matt has been an active and involved advocate, personally and professionally on behalf of victims’ rights.
“His involvement on numerous boards and committees, has underscored the need for an emergency response network in Lassen County, throughout the state of California, and on a national level. In response to this, politicians and other elected officials have appropriated the funding which is necessary for the continuation of these vital services and programs.”
Mullin also was instrumental in the success of several fund-raising efforts, including the annual Hobby Craft Fair where handcrafted wooden items were donated from several inmate fire camps. Since 1998 that event has raised a total of $76,714 for LFS to benefit the victims of crime in Lassen County.
In honor of the dozen individuals and organizations honored on April 15, the governor also has proclaimed April 13-19, as Crime Victims’ Rights Week, in honor of this year's recipients and the hundreds of other crime victim advocates in California who work tirelessly to support victims.
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