Organ transplant group hosts 'Family Affair'
Published: October 11, 2012
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
ST. CROIX - The family unit is the center of any society and The Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program once again is pushing its efforts to raise awareness of the importance of families.
October is Family Month as first signed into law in 2004. Lillian Sutherland USVI MOTTEP coordinator said an increasing need exists for support for the family system and the work that MOTTEP is doing.
She said October also is V.I. Family Month, and the goal of the event is to overcome age, race and socioeconomic barriers that keep residents apart.
Because the organization is celebrating its 10th anniversary, it is a special event. In addition, for the first time in its history, MOTTEP also is extending its support to encompass the men and women of the V.I. Police Department and other law enforcement entities in the territory, Sutherland said.
"We have seen such a blatant attack on our law enforcement personnel in the past few months that we have to do our part and speak out in support of our officers and encourage support for them," she said.
On Aug. 18, St. Croix Police Chief Christopher Howell and Officer Elsworth Jones were fired upon as they responded to an armed robbery on the island's north shore. Both men were seriously injured and are recovering.
Just months before that, on May 26, Police officers Aaron Hodge and Colvin Georges were shot while patrolling in the Contant area on St. Thomas. Hodge is expected to make a full recovery, but Georges, who was shot in the neck, had been left paralyzed from the neck down and struggled in a Miami Hospital and died during the early morning hours of Sept. 29.
Services for Georges will be held this weekend on St. Thomas.
Sutherland said the news of the two attacks on police officers have left many in the community seeking answers as they see the deterioration of the moral fiber that makes the community what it is.
"Our law enforcement officers are the first line of defense of protection for our community, and we have to be supportive of them," she said. "When our family go overseas to war, we are on edge until they return, but police are on the front lines every day for us, protecting the freedoms that we enjoy."
Sutherland said the breakdown of the family unit has been one of the contributing factors to the rising crime in the community. It is going to take the efforts of everyone to reinstate the family as the foundation for the community, and it is going to take a community effort to curb crime throughout the territory, she said.
"Many of our young people turn to crime and violence because of conflicts that begin in the family, and it does not matter the dimensions of that family unit," she said. "Families are designed to provide spiritual, mental and social support and stability as we grow, and we are seeing a deterioration of this facet."
"We are losing so many young lives at the hands of violence, its time for us to step up and do something," she said.
MOTTEP will host its 10th Annual "It's a Family Affair Walk" - from St. Croix Educational Complex to The Amphitheater in Sunny Isle where a ceremony will be held - at 6 a.m. Saturday.
MOTTEP is a national organization established to increase the number of minority organ and tissue transplant donors.
The organization also works to raise awareness of the diseases and behaviors, such as diabetes, hypertension, alcohol and substance abuse, poor nutrition and lack of exercise, that lead to organ transplants.
For more information about transplants or organ donation, contact MOTTEP at 719-7892 or visit www.usvimottep.com.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.