Volunteer recognized for work with victims, children
Last years binder is bulging, the multi-colored pages documenting Columbia Countys many child abuse victims inches thick between the covers.
This years binder is not nearly so full yet, but its quickly catching up.
Its disturbing, said Linda Gaskill, volunteer with the Columbia County District Attorneys Office. Gaskill recently received the Champion for Children volunteer award from the Clackamas County Sheriffs Office for her work in Columbia County. The binders are part of what has driven her to spend four days a week for the last 13 years at a tiny desk pushed against a wall in the grand jury room.
My first love has always been children, said Gaskill. We have an opportunity to protect a lot of kids here. Now and then, a child will slip through the cracks, but Gaskill works to make sure this is a rare occurrence.
Linda doesnt have a law degree, a badge, or even an office, but her devotion, unequaled in my 25 plus years of experience prosecuting criminal child abuse and dependency cases, to creating a system which truly helps the rest of us do our jobs, helps countless children in ways few see or acknowledge, wrote Deputy District Attorney Jenni Jordan in her nomination of Gaskill.
Gaskill, a Columbia County resident since 1980, first became involved as a volunteer victims advocate, after a relative became a victim. She was impressed by how the District Attorneys office handled the case.
Its time for me to make a difference in someone elses life, she remembers thinking.
She still steps into the victims advocate roll as needed, but most of her time is spent being invisible, quietly doing the sometimes all-consuming job of follow-up: requesting information from a variety of agencies, getting updates on cases, contacting prosecutors and law enforcement, touching base with victims assistance, mental health and schools. All the little things that push cases forward.
But Linda handles it all, Jordan wrote, smoothly, correctly, carefully and with the absolute least bother to any of the people or agencies involved.
The District Attorneys Office is already warren-like, its cramped hallways leading to small offices overflowing with documents, files and books. In the middle of the busy office, Gaskill creates her own order. She coordinates the Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Team, the Sexual Assault Response Team and the Elder Abuse Team.
She doesnt seek out praise for her work, Jordan said, and she never complains.
Linda can always be counted on, regardless of whats going on in her busy life, Jordan wrote. If something takes time she didnt otherwise plan, she will do it regardless because it may help a child.Add a comment