Five recognized in Anne Arundel County for aid to crime victims

Honorees helped those in crisis

April 30, 2010|By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun

Michael Rindos was driving along Bay Dale Drive in Annapolis last summer when he saw a shocking scene: A nearly naked young woman driving behind him was being struck by a man in the car, and she was screaming for help.

Rindos, now 19 and a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park, said he didn't think about the potential dangers that June afternoon. He just sprang into action.

"He probably didn't think he was going to be a hero," said Anne Arundel County Assistant State's Attorney Anastasia Prigge.

The woman had filed for a protective order from her former boyfriend, who had broken into her home while she was in the shower and forced her to drive.

Rindos, an Arnold resident, whisked the woman to safety and gave her a sweat shirt and shorts he had in his car before calling authorities. The victim, the prosecutor said, "remains extremely grateful."

For his actions, Rindos was one of five people honored last week at the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office's annual commemoration of National Crime Victims' Rights Week.

State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee said the county is "on the forefront in providing services and support," to victims of crime.

"Victims humanize our system and remind us what it means to have a kind heart," said Weathersbee. "We should not hesitate to ask victims what they need … and respect the choices victims make for their own healing and recovery."

An Eastern Shore couple was recognized for providing emergency care to crash victims and, later, important information to officials.

Rebecca and David Stivers were heading home to Chesterville after dinner in Annapolis last June when a Jeep in front of them flipped over on U.S. 50 near Cape St. Claire.

Rebecca Stivers, a trauma nurse, and her husband, an auto mechanic, were the first people to stop and help.

Rebecca Stivers delivered critical care to one of the passengers when she "reached her hand inside his body" to stop the bleeding, said Assistant State's Attorney Crighton Chase.

Another passenger died, and the Stivers testified in court, providing crucial details that ultimately convicted the driver, who had been drinking, of manslaughter, Chase said.

"There was no question that we would pull over and stop," said Rebecca Stivers. "I just wish there has been a better outcome for the other man."

Also honored was Barbara Brown for her volunteer work assisting victims of economic crimes. Stephanie Brandquist, a victim witness specialist, described Brown as "diligent, thorough" and someone who has "shown great compassion."

Lawyer Andrea Padley was also recognized for her work at YWCA Legal Services, where she has represented hundreds of victims of domestic violence for a reduced fee or at no charge.

Lynn Freshour, who has worked for 29 years in victims' rights advocacy, received the 10th annual Warren B. Duckett Jr. Memorial Commitment to Justice Award. Duckett, who died in 2004, was a state's attorney, judge and leading Democratic political figure in the county.

Freshour, who began her career as a volunteer counselor helping juveniles, has served in a range of positions. Among them, she was an operator at the county's suicide hot line and a counselor to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Katherine Rovendro, executive director of the county's Crisis Response System, called Freshour "uniquely talented" and praised her for her aid to victims.

"Her dedication to the clients that are seen at crisis response and out in the community is hard to communicate," said Rovendro. "Lynn is truly dedicated. She is an advocate to the last minute of the day."

Freshour said she was "humbled" to receive the award.

"I have met thousands of people who are in crisis, and if you can in any small way help them, the joy is in that," said Freshour. "I wouldn't have it any other way."

Later, she said, "I truly love people, and I hope that shows through."

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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