We believe this is the first time in the history of this event that this award has gone to someone from the cause of missing persons, so it's a huge deal to our cause! It also signifies a shift in this cause now deemed in the "crime" category by the Department of Justice.
I (with some fantastic help of a few special people) submitted this award nomination. So I am almost as jazzed as Kelly about the award :)
This article is from AOL News writer David Lohr, who is very special to the cause of missing persons.
-- Ronnie Rhode
Her Mission for the Missing Earns Mom National Kudos
By David Lohr
(April 20) -- A Nebraska woman who emerged from the "nightmare" of her son's disappearance to bring hope to other families of missing people has received unprecedented national recognition for her efforts.
The U.S. Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime last week named Kelly Jolkowski, president and founder of the Omaha, Neb.-based nonprofit Project Jason, as its 2010 Volunteer for Victims Honoree.
The announcement came at the National Crime Victims' Service Awards, which paid tribute to Jolkowski and eight other people for "outstanding work on behalf of crime victims." The awards, which were held Friday in Washington, D.C., are part of the OVC's National Crime Victims Rights Week, April 18-24.
What makes Jolkowski's award especially significant is that it's the first one in memory to be given to an advocate of missing people.
"I'm honored to accept this award on behalf of all missing persons, the families who miss them and in my son's name," Jolkowski said upon receiving the award. "The secondary victims, the families, deserve a voice and to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect as they go through what is undoubtedly the most difficult time in their lives."
One Mother's Story
Jolkowski's own family ordeal began almost nine years ago, as she recalled in a recent interview with AOL News.
"It was June 13, 2001, and Jason was 19 at the time," Jolkowski said. "My husband and I were at work when the restaurant he worked at called and asked him to come in early. To our knowledge, Jason said he would be glad to, but told them he would need a ride -- his car was in the shop. They said they would have a girl that works there pick him up at a high school that is about seven blocks away from our house."