The Ponoka Victim Services Unit (PVSU) is a vital part of our community. The organization puts in countless volunteer hours to make sure that there is always someone there for the victim of a crime.
Karie Ackermann the executive director of the organization says that without us the victims’ needs may be overlooked.
“Imagine a community like ours without the PVSU… the victim is all alone and they wouldn’t have anyone to support them, relaying information to them and helping them through the process,” said Ackermann. “Our system is created to address the accused needs, from the minute they are arrested they know where they are going and the victim is left without anyone.”
For example, they are there for families when they need support after a crime and help a child before they need to make a statement.
“It is good for them to see the RCMP in a different light and not just arresting the bad guys,” said Ackermann.
The PVSU, Wolf Creek Golf Resort and the Ponoka RCMP are hosting a Victim Services Gala on April 26 at Wolf Creek, the night will include cocktails, dinner and a dance.
“The gala is a new idea to raise money for the unit to assist victims of a crime or tragedy,” she said. “It’s a classy formal event and we are hoping people will take the chance and come out. It’s a night out and I found that there’s not a lot of formal events like this in Ponoka and I am excited to see the response.”
Local group Flat Iron Jazz band will provide live music to help add to the classy tone of the event. The night will be semi formal/formal and RCMP members will be dressed in ceremonial red serge as well.
A live auction will help raise funds for the unit with a signed Carolina Panthers jersey by former Red Deer Rebel Cam Ward, George Chuvalo signed gloves, prints by local First Nations artist Kenny Louis and more. There will also be a special chance to have your picture taken with RCMP members with part of the proceeds going back to the organization.
“We need funds to continue our program. We get grants but it doesn’t cover all of our costs. We don’t have a women or youth shelter here and if you are stuck what are you going to do?” asked Ackermann. “We also have a van to transport victims, which we lease and without that our service would completely change.”
The evening will also be a chance to recognize both the RCMP and the local volunteers.
“The RCMP do so much for the community and it is a nice way to appreciate them and we have such wonderful RCMP members taking care of us here in Ponoka,” she said.
“We work in tragedy and sadness and this event will be totally opposite of that. It will also be an event to recognize the organization’s advocates and board volunteers. The advocates are on call for the RCMP 24/7 and all of the volunteers put in so many hours.”
For more information about the gala you can contact Ackermann at 403-783-6539 or Brooke Wiancko at 403-783-0395.