Every few weeks Soldiers Against Child Abuse will honor and report about a hero. This hero will represent strength, honor, and selfless acts which will have impacted a person, community, state, and/or nation.
THE SOLDIER’S HERO IS:
Who Are CASA Volunteers?
Frankye Hull: Getting the Facts to Make Children Safe
Kershaw County Guardian ad Litem Program, SC
2009 G. F. Bettineski Child Advocate of the Year
Being a guardian ad litem volunteer is a lot like being a detective. You have to be nosey. To help a child find a safe home, you’ve got to really want to know what’s going on.
Since 1998, I’ve been an active volunteer for a number of causes, especially after retiring from teaching school for 30 years. But after I suffered from a brain aneurysm a few years ago, there was a period when my surgeon would not let me go back to my volunteer work. I had to keep my head down much of the time, and I had trouble with equilibrium. As a result, I wasn’t doing too much of anything.
I prayed over it. I said, “Lord, tell me what to do. Because I have to do something, I can’t just sit down.” And it fell with the children. That’s all I really want to do. The children come first with me. So when I returned to my volunteer work, I focused only on the GAL program.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many cases I’ve had over 11 years, a couple dozen at least. I always begin by meeting with the children and with the parents. And I tell the parents: “I’m here to help your children. I hope that we can cooperate with each other. But I’ll be very frank with you. I’m going to do what I think is right. If it means that I’ve got to sneak around; if it means I’ve got to act like Dick Tracy; if it means I have to travel a thousand miles: I’m going to get to the bottom of what’s wrong.”
When I was accepting the volunteer of the year award at the National CASA conference, I told the audience that guardian ad litem volunteers were very well paid. I was joking about the money but not about the rewards. The little children come innocently. All they want is love. They can’t understand Why does my mamma not want me? or Why does my daddy treat me like this? or Why does my mamma ignore me? When you show them there is a goodness out here in this world, that maybe they are not getting what they need at home but that somebody out there knows they are special, it becomes engrained in that child’s mind. They grow up knowing that they are good people. By showing them something different than what they’ve experienced, we can put those children on the right track. This is my reward. To read the article in it’s entirety: C.A.S.A.
Kansas woman brings abuse awareness campaign to Craig
By Brian Smith
A small yard sign, advocating for something other than an upcoming sale or a political candidate, can carry a big message.
That’s the belief of Lily Madrene Hill, a 63-year-old Wichita, Kan., woman who arrived Saturday in Craig. She brought signs with her urging residents to be aware of a sad and disturbing crime — child abuse.
“Once you are aware of something, you are kind of empowered that you might be able to help and do something,” Hill said.
Hill is one of two Wichita-area grandmothers who spearheaded a project in April to bring awareness to preventing and stopping child abuse through bright, black and yellow yard signs.
Their project is called “The Grandmother Project,” Hill said.
“We had about five child abuse deaths from the first of the year until April this year in Wichita, and I finally got fed up,” she said. “So, a friend and I decided to do yard signs because we don’t know how to change laws.”
The yard signs now number about 1,000, and are located mostly in Wichita and states including Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado.
Craig has two of Hill’s signs — one in the yard of her brother, Van Austin, at 760 Yampa Ave., and another in the yard of her sister, Marlena O’Leary, at 794 School St.
The signs were placed in the yards Sunday and the family has plans to leave them up indefinitely.
Placing yard signs in Craig and other communities is a stepping-stone to spreading the anti-abuse message and raising awareness throughout the country, Hill said.
Austin said it was an easy decision to put one of his sister’s signs in his yard.
“It’s a pretty good cause,” he said. “I didn’t have any objection when they came and asked to put the signs in my yard.
“A lot of people are hesitant in getting involved if they hear that the kid is getting abused next door. You need to get aware of that and make the call.”
Hill said her mission of placing signs in yards across the country began with a child abuse case she heard about in Wichita.
“He was 20 months old and went through hell and torture before the guy finally did kill him,” she said. “That is inexcusable — totally. You don’t treat a dog that way.”
Hill said she prayed about the child’s death, and thought about what the child would want to say to stop future incidents of child abuse.
The message on the signs, which reads “Be aware, child abuse can be anywhere, call 911,” is the message the child who was killed would have wanted, she said.
“I had a pencil and a piece of paper in front of my hand and I just wrote that out and, as far as I’m concerned, that’s (his) prayer,” she said.
The yard signs implore residents to call 911 if they see indications of child abuse, an action that will yield results faster than others, Hill said.
“If a child is in danger and you know it is in danger, the hot-
line is a good thing, but it takes them days, weeks and whatever to do anything,” Hill said. “But, if the police show up, they can take the child out of the home. They can, right then, protect that child. That is our goal — to protect children before they are murdered.”
Hill is attempting to spread her message across the country because the problem is widespread, she said.
“I’m not just pinpointing Craig, not pinpointing Wichita — it’s everywhere,” she said. “It is not just in the cities and it is not just among the poor. (It’s also among) people that have money, people that ought to know better, people that are educated.”
Hill hopes to push her message “forever until everybody is tired of seeing the signs.”
To get involved with “The Grandmother Project,” or to receive a sign, call (316) 943-1437, or visit www.yardsignsagainstchildabuse.com.
Saturday March 6, 2010
Climbing a mountain against child abuse
By LOH FOON FONG and RSN MURALI
PETALING JAYA: Come April, Melvin Tong will climb a mountain for the first time in his life – with crutches. The 25-year-old, who lost his right leg to a cancerous tumour eight years ago, sees it as doing his part to fight child abuse.
“It’s very sad to read again and again in the news about child abuse. I feel that I need to do more about it and decided to take up the challenge,” Tong said at the Shelter Home office yesterday.
The challenge will see volunteers climb Mount Kinabalu to raise awareness and funds for child protection advocacy work.
Tong, a car dealer, added that he was upset when he read about 18-month-old K. Hareswarra who died from alleged abuse.
Tong, who loves children, said he visited neglected and abused children at Rumah Hope once or twice every month to spend time with them.
“The Shelter climb for charity is a way for me to show support for abused children and I am still looking for friends to join me,” said Tong, who has started hiking up steep hills besides doing his regular gym workouts and swimming as part of his training for the climb.
He has managed to raise US$100 (RM340) while researching online on how he could participate in outdoor activities, and on suitable crutches for hiking on different terrain.
Tong has also ordered a set of crutches costing RM5,000 for his climb since regular ones are not suitable for hiking.
Shelter Home executive director James Nayagam said the organisation was looking for 46 people to join the climb from April 18 to 21.
In Kuala Terengganu, Women, Family and Community Develop-ment Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said those with reservations to lodge police reports over suspected child abuse could contact the ministry’s Talian Nur at 15999.
MARY ELLEN WILSON A SURVIVOR OF CHILD ABUSE WHO TURNED NEGATIVE INTO POSITIVE
First Case of Child Abuse 1874
Mary Ellen Wilson
The sufferings of the little girl, Mary Ellen, led to the founding of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the first organization of its kind, in 1874. In 1877, the New York SPCA and several Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals from throughout the country joined together to form the American Humane Association.
The following is Mary Ellen’s story, which marked the beginning of a world-wide crusade to save children. It is extractedd from American Humane’ Society, Helping in Child Protective Services: A Competency-….Based Casework Handbook.
Over the years, in the re-telling of Mary Ellen Wilson’s story, myth has often been confused with fact. Some of the inaccuracies stem from colorful but erroneous journalism, others from simple misunderstandin….g of the facts, and still others from the complex history of the child protection movement in the United States and Great Britain and its link to the animal welfare movement. While it is true that Henry Bergh, president of the American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), was instrumental in ensuring Mary Ellen’s removal from an abusive home, it is not true that her attorney—who also worked for the ASPCA—argued that she deserved help because she was “a member of the animal kingdom.”
The real story—which can be pieced together from court documents, newspaper articles, and personal accounts—is quite compelling, and it illustrates the impact that a caring and committed individual can have on the life of a child.
Mary Ellen Wilson was born in 1864 to Francis and Thomas Wilson of New York City. Soon thereafter, Thomas died, and his widow took a job. No longer able to stay at home and care for her infant daughter, Francis boarded Mary Ellen (a common practice at the time) with a woman named Mary Score. As Francis’s economic situation deteriorated, she slipped further into poverty, falling behind in payments for and missing visits with her daughter. As a result, Mary Score turned two-year-old Mary Ellen over to the city’s Department of Charities.
The Department made a decision that would have grave consequences for little Mary Ellen; it placed her illegally, without proper documentation of the relationship, and with inadequate oversight in the home of Mary and Thomas McCormack, who claimed to be the child’s biological father. In an eerie repetition of events, Thomas died shortly thereafter. His widow married Francis Connolly, and the new family moved to a tenement on West 41st Street.
Mary McCormack Connolly badly mistreated Mary Ellen, and neighbors in the apartment building were aware of the child’s plight. The Connolly’s soon moved to another tenement, but in 1874, one of their original neighbors asked Etta Angell Wheeler, a caring Methodist mission worker who visited the impoverished residents of the tenements regularly, to check on the child. At the new address, Etta encountered a chronically ill and homebound tenant, Mary Smitt, who confirmed that she often heard the cries of a child across the hall. Under the pretext of asking for help for Mrs. Smitt, Etta Wheeler introduced herself to Mary Connolly. She saw Mary Ellen’s condition for herself. The 10-year-old appeared dirty and thin, was dressed in threadbare clothing, and had bruises and scars along her bare arms and legs. Ms. Wheeler began to explore how to seek legal redress and protection for Mary Ellen.
At that time, some jurisdictions in the United States had laws that prohibited excessive physical discipline of children. New York, in fact, had a law that permitted the state to remove children who were neglected by their caregivers. Based on their interpretation of the laws and Mary Ellen’s circumstances, however, New York City authorities were reluctant to intervene. Etta Wheeler continued her efforts to rescue Mary Ellen and, after much deliberation, turned to Henry Bergh, a leader of the animal humane movement in the United States and founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). It was Ms. Wheeler’s niece who convinced her to contact Mr. Bergh by stating, “You are so troubled over that abused child, why not go to Mr. Bergh? She is a little animal surely” (p. 3 Wheeler in Watkins).
Ms. Wheeler located several neighbors who were willing to testify to the mistreatment of the child and brought written documentation to Mr. Bergh. At a subsequent court hearing, Mr. Bergh stated that his action was “that of a human citizen,” clarifying that he was not acting in his official capacity as president of the NYSPCA. He emphasized that he was “determined within the framework of the law to prevent the frequent cruelties practiced on children” (Mary Ellen, April 10, 1976, p. 8 in Watkins, 1990). After reviewing the documentation collected by Etta Wheeler, Mr. Bergh sent an NYSPCA investigator (who posed as a census worker to gain entrance to Mary Ellen’s home) to verify the allegations. Elbridge T. Gerry, an ASPCA attorney, prepared a petition to remove Mary Ellen from her home so she could testify to her mistreatment before a judge. Mr. Bergh took action as a private citizen who was concerned about the humane treatment of a child. It was his role as president of the NYSPCA and his ties to the legal system and the press, however, that bring about Mary Ellen’s rescue and the movement for a formalized child protection system.
Recognizing the value of public opinion and awareness in furthering the cause of the humane movement, Henry Bergh contacted New York Times reporters who took an interest in the case and attended the hearings. Thus, there were detailed newspaper accounts that described Mary Ellen’s appalling physical condition. When she was taken before Judge Lawrence, she was dressed in ragged clothing, was bruised all over her body and had a gash over her left eye and on her cheek where Mary Connelly had struck her with a pair of scissors. On April 10, 1874, Mary Ellen testified:
“My father and mother are both dead. I don’t know how old I am. I have no recollection of a time when I did not live with the Connollys. …. Mamma has been in the habit of whipping and beating me almost every day. She used to whip me with a twisted whip—a raw hide. The whip always left a black and blue mark on my body. I have now the black and blue marks on my head which were made by mamma, and also a cut on the left side of my forehead which was made by a pair of scissors. She struck me with the scissors and cut me; I have no recollection of ever having been kissed by any one—have never been kissed by mamma. I have never been taken on my mamma’s lap and caressed or petted. I never dared to speak to anybody, because if I did I would get whipped…. I do not know for what I was whipped—mamma never said anything to me when she whipped me. I do not want to go back to live with mamma, because she beats me so. I have no recollection ever being on the street in my life” Mary Ellen, April 10, 1874 in Watkins, 1990).
In response, Judge Lawrence immediately issued a writ de homine replagiando, provided for by Section 65 of the Habeas Corpus Act, to bring Mary Ellen under court control.
The newspapers also provided extensive coverage of the caregiver Mary Connolly’s trial, raising public awareness and helping to inspire various agencies and organizations to advocate for the enforcement of laws that would rescue and protect abused children (Watkins, 1990). On April 21, 1874, Mary Connolly was found guilty of felonious assault and was sentenced to one year of hard labor in the penitentiary (Watkins, 1990).
Less well known but as compelling as the details of her rescue, is the rest of Mary Ellen’s story. Etta Wheeler continued to play an important role in the child’s life. Family correspondence and other accounts reveal that the court placed Mary Ellen in an institutional shelter for adolescent girls. Believing this to be an inappropriate setting for the 10-year-old, Ms. Wheeler intervened. Judge Lawrence gave her permission to place the child with her own mother, Sally Angell, in northern New York. When Ms. Angell died, Etta Wheeler’s youngest sister, Elizabeth, and her husband Darius Spencer, raised Mary Ellen. By all accounts, her life with the Spencer family was stable and nurturing.
At the age of 24, Mary Ellen married a widower and had two daughters—Etta,…. named after Etta Wheeler, and Florence. Later, she became a foster mother to a young girl named Eunice. Etta and Florence both became teachers; Eunice was a businesswoman. Mary Ellen’s children and grandchildren described her as gentle and not much of a disciplinarian….. Reportedly, she lived in relative anonymity and rarely spoke with her family about her early years of abuse. In 1913, however, she agreed to attend the American Humane Association’s national conference in Rochester, NY, with Etta Wheeler, her long-time advocate. Ms. Wheeler was a guest speaker at the conference. Her keynote address, “The Story of Mary Ellen which started the Child Saving Crusade Throughout the World” was published by the American Humane Association. Mary Ellen died in 1956 at the age of 92.
The Robin Hood Foundation Honors Three New York HeroesDecember 4, 2001 New YorkRobin Hood, one of the city’s leading poverty-fighting organizations, today honored three New Yorkers at the twelfth annual Robin Hood Heroes Awards at Tavern on the Green. Mayor-Elect Michael Bloomberg spoke at the breakfast which was also attended by Jerry Seinfeld.
Each year Robin Hood honors outstanding people whose work is transforming the lives of the poorest New Yorkers. This honor is appropriately called the Hero Award. Each of the three Hero award recipients received a $50,000 honorarium from Robin Hood for their organization.
The 2001 Robin Hood Heroes are NYPD Detective Anthony DeMaria, a child abuse investigator at the Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center, Marina Bernard Damiba, Principal of the Bronx Prep Charter School, and John Ariza, a volunteer at Abraham House.
NYPD Detective Anthony DeMaria is one of the most successful investigators of child abuse in New York City. Able to gain both the trust of frightened children who have been abused and the offenders who have abused them, he has saved thousands of children from further torment by securing confessions from their abusers. Robin Hood honors Detective DeMaria for his extraordinary work at the Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center (BCAC) which handled 2,000 child abuse cases last year. The BCAC is an ambitious multi-disciplinary initiative of Safe Horizon which coordinates the efforts of police, prosecutors, child protection agencies, health care providers, and social workers under one roof to aid the victims of, and reduce the incidence of, child abuse. Robin Hood’s support enabled the BCAC not only to open on evenings and weekends, times that are busy for intakes and productive for detective work, but to launch sites in Queens and Staten Island as well.
Marina Bernard Damiba is Principal of Bronx Prep, one of the emerging leaders in the charter school movement. In a neighborhood where crime, gangs, and delinquency are the norm, Marina Bernard Damiba’s charisma, commitment to strong academics, and fierce dedication to her students has created an educational institution that’s transforming lives. Robin Hood, one of Bronx Prep’s first large funders, honors Marina for her visionary work and her determination to make her students believe in themselves and to dream. In a neighborhood where only 11% of the kids score at grade level, Bronx Prep has raised that figure to 71%. In its first year of operation, the math scores at the school went up 46% and the daily attendance rate is an impressive 97%.
John Ariza volunteers with his family each week at Abraham House, serving as an example of how dramatically a life can change. A former cab driver convicted of drug dealing, he was sentenced by an astute judge to three years at Abraham House instead of Attica. While there, John earned his GED and now is a married father of two who works as an office manager for a company that pays for him to study network technologies. Robin Hood honors John for his commitment to turning his life around and to Abraham House, which offers an alternative to incarceration for first time, non-violent offenders. Run by Sister Simone Ponnet, Abraham House has a small, intensive residential program, a family center offering social services to the relatives of inmates and ex-inmates, and a six-day a week, year-round after school program for the children of these families, ages 5 to 15. Compared to the 70% recidivism rate of prison inmates, only 1 of the 100 graduates of Abraham House’s program has returned to jail.
As it does every year, Tavern on the Green donated their restaurant, staff, and services for the Robin Hood Heroes Awards Breakfast. Presenting the Robin Hood Heroes Awards were Robin Hood board members Stanley Druckenmiller, Dirk Ziff, Bob Pittman, Geoffrey Canada, Marie-Josee Kravis, and Paul Tudor Jones. Attending the breakfast were leaders from Wall Street, the government, and the entertainment, technology, and media industries, including Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Brokaw, and Mayor-Elect Michael Bloomberg.
Established in 1988, Robin Hood fights poverty in New York City by applying investment principles to charitable giving. Robin Hood searches for and supports the strongest, most effective programs helping the city’s two million poor people build better lives for themselves and their families. The board of directors underwrites all administrative costs so that every penny can go directly to those who need it most. The need for help is more urgent than ever before as demands for food, housing, job training, and health care have sky-rocketed since September 11th.
Area native’s mission is to help abused kids
Paul McLaughlin’s ongoing efforts gained him the moniker, ‘The Child Abuse Man.’
By JEFF PIKULSKY
Paul McLaughlin said growing up on Castner Avenue in Donora was a living nightmare.
The 59-year-old said he was brutally beaten by his mother from the age of 3 until he left home at 21.
“There are large, deep scars which I’ve been trying to hide since I was a kid,” McLaughlin said. “I hated it. I hated my mother, as sad as it could be. But, there’s nothing I could do about that. I’ll let God take care of that.”
McLaughlin, who says he is mentally handicapped, said his mother suffers from a mental disorder. He claims his father would beat his mother, and she would take it out on McLaughlin and his twin sister.
McLaughlin said he and his twin were the only two of four children that were abused.
McLaughlin said he never received closure as to why he was abused.
“My mother and father were not abused when they were children. This is something I do not understand at all. So much more in life does not make any sense to me because of the life I had and the illness I have,” he said.
The situation at his home was so unbearable that McLaughlin said he sought refuge in the military.
After he graduated from Donora High School in 1970 at the age of 21, he enlisted in the Army.
“I was scared when I went in, but I wanted to do something about this,” he said of leaving Donora.
While he was in the Army, McLaughlin’s life took a turn.
When he was serving in Washington, he met his first wife, Donna Baldwin, through a dating service.
The two married and settled in Eugene, Ore.
There, McLaughlin decided to take a stand against what had haunted him for so many years.
“I said I was going to do something in a revengeful way, but it turned out to be positive,” he said.
In 1975, he began “Stop Child Abuse Now,” an outreach effort under which McLaughlin has spoken to thousands of youths about abuse and seeking help.
He wrote a 50-page booklet about child abuse and said he has spoken in more than 20 states about his personal demons.
“From 1975 to 2000, I had traveled over 20,000 miles with open forum speeches, lectures and fund-raising,” McLaughlin said. “I was talking about almost every day, three to four times a day.”
He recalled one of his first speeches.
“I was crying, nervous and jittery. But, the word got out real fast on what I was doing,” he recalled.
McLaughlin gained celebrity status in Oregon as “The Child Abuse Man.” He frequently would stand for hours along streets with a sign around his neck saying, “Help Stop Child Abuse.”
His efforts attracted widespread media attention.
McLaughlin said he has been featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles and has spoken on numerous radio talk shows.
“A lot of them admired me because it takes a lot of guts to make up a sign on cardboard and hold it up on the streets so people driving by can see it,” he said.
McLaughlin’s actions were not always been embraced, though.
“Some people would yell at me and give me the middle finger,” McLaughlin said. “There are some people who contact me who hate me. I’m learning that they were abused and so they don’t want me to talk about it and I’m trying to get the answer out of them.”
McLaughlin’s touring ended in 2001, when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“I am partially paralyzed from the waist down to my feet. My right eye vision went out and they got my vision back but there are still problems with that,” he said.
But the drive remains in his heart. McLaughlin has kept his mission alive on the Internet and over the telephone at his home.
“I still get phone calls from people who have read my story. I receive a lot of emails from people from high school in Donora,” he said.
McLaughlin has remarried. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have been together for 19 years.
He said Elizabeth has provided a strong support system for him.
It has been a whirlwind journey for McLaughlin, and while he questions why his childhood was a time of torment, the grown man says he is thankful for where he is today.
“It makes me feel good, especially when I receive letters or emails that tell me how good I’ve done,” he said. “It’s a blessing to me and I feel good about that, to get children more involved in this and to do something positive in their lives.
“It helped to heal me and heal my anger. It made me into a happier person.”
McLaughlin said he would not have been able to impact so many lives without his suffering.
“I’m trying to express myself to other people that if you know a child that’s being abused, help them,” he said. “Children need to learn right away that, whatever their parents do to them, they should not do what they were taught from that.
“Some of the children are in gangs. They tell me they were abused and that’s why they went to gangs. I tell them, ‘That’s not going to get you anywhere.'”
McLaughlin said he has found comfort in speaking out about his pain. He strongly encourages others to do the same.
“It turned out to be a positive way of doing things, to get people’s attention,” he said. “It’s nice to meet people. Also, it gets scary for me, but that’s the way it is. You have to get used to that.”
Paul McLaughlin can be reached online at the Web site http://www.efn.org/~scan/scan.html.
Ryan Alan Hade, survivor of rape and mutilation – For being a first class survivor and starting a foundation to help children who fell victim to child abuse/molestation.
Victim of 1989 rape and mutilation dies in motorcycle crash .
06:07 PM PDT on Wednesday, June 22, 2005
TACOMA, Wash. – A man who at the age of 7 was mutilated in an attack that instrumental in driving the adoption of the nation’s first law for indefinite confinement law of sexual predators has died in a motorcycle wreck.
Ryan Alan Hade, partial to daredevil sports and especially fond of his grandmother, died June 9 when his recently purchased yellow Suzuki motorcycle collided with a pickup truck near Yelm, friends, relatives and law enforcement officials confirmed.
Hade was known to relatively few as the victim of a grisly attack in 1989 that made national headlines. He was riding his bike in woods near his home when Earl Shriner offered him a doughnut. Once lured out of sight, Shriner proceeded to rape, stab, and strangle him. He also severed his penis.
It turned out Shriner had a lengthy criminal history that included previous sex offenses against children and even a murder.
Shriner, now 55, was sentenced the next year to 131 years in prison for the crime.
Legislators cited the case in adopting the nation’s first state law to allow indefinite civil confinement of sexual predators, noting that Shriner had a 25-year history of perversion and violence against young people.
The crime spurred Hade’s mother, Helen Harlow, to create the Tennis Shoe Brigade, an organization that pushed legislators to pass several laws that ultimately lengthened sexual predators sentences, made tracking after their release mandatory, and requires police to notify communities when sexual predators move in.
His family said in a matter of weeks after the attack, Hade was up and about, even attending his cousin Rachael’s wedding a month-and-a-half later.
“When he was at my wedding, he still had rope burns on his neck and just was normal, jumping around, being a normal child. never said anything to me ever about it,” she said.
Doctors eventually performed reconstructive surgery.
Hade remembered few details of the attack and rarely talked about it, but until two or three years ago he would become tense, irritable and physically ill each year around the anniversary of the harrowing episode, friends and relatives said.
But his grandmother, Betty Foote, said that when she asked him if the kids bothered him at school, he responded: “I think I have more friends now because of what happened than I did before.”
Hade completed the ninth grade while living with his father, Lowell Hade, in Roseburg, Ore., then returned to Tacoma, later enrolling at Bates Technical College to learn upholstery.
Hade left home at age 18, became interested in real estate investing and bought, renovated and sold one home in Tacoma and another in Spanaway.
Hade supported himself with such work, upholstery jobs and a monthly stipend from a trust fund she formed with donations from the public that at one point reached nearly $1 million.
At the time of his death he was living in a mobile home on seven acres in Roy and looking for a one-story duplex in Tacoma for himself and his grandmother. Foote said he wanted to spare her knees the strain of going up and down stairs in her current home.
Hade enjoyed skateboarding, snowboarding and skydiving, recently got a flying lesson from a cousin while visiting Illinois and not long ago bought a 1979 Pontiac Trans-Am to overhaul, calling it a “chick magnet,” Harlow said.
“He survived something that was extreme and consequently he lived his life extreme,” Harlow said. “You cheat death once, you figure you can cheat it just about any time you want.”
His family believes he survived his childhood attack for a reason.
“There was something that Ryan hadn’t finished that he needed to do,” Rachael said. “And I think a lot of it is he survived something. And to show people that you can survive after something like that happens.”
“He always talked how life was short, you’ve got to make every day count,” said Chris Kunkel, who considered Hade his best friend. “That’s really what he did, make every day count…
“He worked every day to make sure his life had meaning.”
How his life is impacting others to date:
February 6, 2009, 8:53
Young hero died protecting sister from molester
A seven-year-old boy who died defending his older sister from a potential rapist has been honoured posthumously. Zhenya Tabakov’s mother received the order of courage medal on behalf of her son.
Just over two months ago Galina lost her son and she’s still struggling to get over the shock.
Zhenya was brutally murdered by a robber, as the boy was trying to save his 12-year-old sister from being raped.
It all happened in late November, in the small military town of Noginsk-9 – a place where even small crimes are rare.
Around midday, a man rang the bell of the flat where Zhenya and his family lived.
“I asked who it was. The man said he was the postman, and he needed to give us a telegram and get a signature. So I opened the door,” recalls Zhenya’s sister Yana.
The little girl says the man held a knife to her throat, and demanded that her brother bring him all the money he could find. Zhenya did as he was told. But when the man started undressing his sister it was more than the boy could bear.
Zhenya seized a knife from the kitchen and plunged it into the man’s back. This didn’t kill the attacker, but it was enough to set Zhenya’s sister free. She ran for help. But it was too late for her brother – he was stabbed eight times.
Thirty-five-year old Sergey Kiyashko is in custody accused of the murder. Police say they have all the evidence they need to convict him.
The entire population of the little town seemed to show up for the farewell ceremony. The heroic death of seven-year-old Zhenya was something that the federal prosecutor’s office could not pass by either. The chief inspector Aleksandr Bystrykin paid tribute to the boy’s courage.
“At the prosecutor’s office, we witness many atrocities on a daily basis. But this case has sent many of us into shock. And it’s played a part in the drafting of a new law on tougher punishment for those who commit crimes against children,” Bystrykin said.
Receiving the order for her son, Galina was unable to speak.
Nothing can bring Zhenya back to life again, but the little boy’s heroism has become the pride of the town – and of his school in particular.
The boy’s photo now occupies the desk where he used to sit. Later on a special plaque will be fixed onto it. And only the best pupils will have the chance and honour of taking that place.