FAMILY: Abdalla Receives Carrocci award

I not a fan of the local papers though I do browse them now and then. Sometimes I'm treated to a pleasant surprise.

Such is the case today.  My aunt, deceased several years now, made the news.

Nothing bad, of course, and not due to anything involving her in person.  Rather, it was an award given to one of our local officials, Fred Abdalla Jr. That award is named after my Aunt Helen.

STEUBENVILLE — Life came full circle for Fred Abdalla Jr. on Saturday when he was presented with the Helen Carrocci Child Advocate Award.

Carrocci was a longtime deputy at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, leading investigations in child abuse cases. After her retirement, she continued her mission to protect children by bringing together agencies and partners in the community to coordinate investigations. She founded A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center in 2002, where children can be interviewed and examined in sexual abuse cases.

Abdalla has been the chief probation officer for Juvenile Court since 2005, working closely with teens who have run into trouble with the law.

Abdalla said he first met Carrocci around age 4 when she was campaigning for his father during his dad’s first run for sheriff.

“Knowing her and her work, that award, named for Helen Carrocci, makes it even more special,” he said.

“Nobody does more for children throughout the entire county than Fred Abdalla Jr.,” said Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Corabi. Herald Star Online
I can't disagree there. 

There wasn't anything my aunt wouldn't do when it came to our local kids.  She was more than an advocate; she was someone they could entrust with their deepest secrets and concerns.  A powerhouse of a woman, she embodied a spirit of no child forgotten and every child matters.

And so it delights me to no end to see that she still inspires others to be a voice for those too young, or traumatized or angry to make a stand. She touched the lives of those that live here and they, in turn, touch the lives of others.  Freddy is no exception; he deserves to have his efforts recognized. He carries that same torch and, whether he realizes it or not, he inspires others towards advocacy, to be a voice - to be fierce but to also have compassion.

If there is an afterlife, I think my Aunt and my cousin, Linda, are smiling at Freddy this week. I'm certainly smiling.


If you would like to learn more about A Caring Place and the work they do to fight against child abuse and human trafficking locally,  please visit