The Knox County Council’s highest award was given out last night.
Vice President Nichole Like presented the Sycamore on the Wabash award to outgoing CASA director Dena Held. It was Held’s last council meeting prior to starting her new position 4-H Extension Educator at the Purdue University Martin County office next month.
A play on words of the state’s highest award – the Sagamore of the Wabash – the Sycamore on the Wabash is given to someone who embodies the spirit of giving to their community.
Each of the council members took turns thanking Held for the work that she’s done during her time at CASA. Like and Councilman Randy Crismore teared up while speaking and Councilman Crowley mentioned how the CASA program had grown from just 4 advocates to 92, thanks in part to Held.
Also during the meeting, Held gave CASA’s annual report to the members of the Knox County Council at their meeting Tuesday night. In her report, she told the council that in 2017, there were a total of 92 CASAs and 187 children served. Over 4,000 volunteer hours were logged and blanket bundles were provided to each child that was removed from their home.
Held also mentioned that Knox County is the 24th highest in the state for child abuse and neglect. A short video demonstrating what CASA is was played.
At the end of the report, Held requested additional funding for a second full time position. Sheriff Mike Morris spoke, stating that if his department could help with funding they would. The council ultimately approved the $45,000 request.