My name is Oliver Smith. I first came in contact with the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center, Inc. (MCVRC) about fifteen years ago after the death of our only son, Oliver Smith Jr. Oliver was a Police Officer for the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. Our son had just ended his tour of duty and was on his way home. Oliver stopped to use an ATM machine to get some gas. Three men had decided to follow him and rob him. The men stopped him at his doorstep, found his badge and gun and murdered our son because" he was a COP". The three men were caught, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. This has been an ordeal that has lasted for fifteen years and still counting. We have been in Court with these three men at least ten times since they were convicted. However, we were never alone. MCVRC has been with us each time, provided us with a means to share with folks "just like us" ….people who truly "Know how we feel" not someone who can only imagine what we feel. MCVRC has been the foundation for us in finding "Our New Normal." I met a fellow survivor who shared a short story with me. He met a child who said, anyone can tell you how many seeds are in an apple, but how many trees are in a seed? For thirty years the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center has planted thousands of seeds of hope with information to know your rights as a victim of a crime and the path to becoming a "survivor" and the difference between the two. One can only imagine how many victims can now stand as strong and tall as a mighty tree and bear fruit because of this wonderful organization.
As a first-time victim of homicide, I was unaware of the mental, emotional and physical toll that this life shattering event would take on me. I was unaware of the stages of true grief, and that the pain would manifest itself in different ways. Guilt, depression, anxiety, fear, panic attacks were some of my many aftereffects. I’ve accepted that the pain never truly dissipates, but becomes a void in your heart that you learn to live with. I am greatly appreciative of organizations like this who provides practical assistance to the bereaved. I’ve also found comfort in knowing what truly happens at death and the hope God promises for those sleeping in death. My favorite website has articles such as “Help For Those Who Grieve” and “Is Life Worth Living After A Loved One Dies?” See below for link: https://www.jw.org/
A Brokenhearted Sister From PG County
My husband and I are volunteers, but we are also survivors of a terrible murder-for-hire, of our pregnant daughter, in June 2005. My husband and I tried to have a negative decision, handed to us by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, overturned. After first trying to "fix" the problem ourselves, we ended up spending $3,000 on a lawyer who is extremely dedicated and proficient (he represents many Redskins football players), to correct a "no-brainer." We still were unable to get the judgement against us overturned. We reached out to MCVRC, and by the grace of God, very dedicated pro bono lawyers Laura Martin, and Tracy Delaney were able to get the decision rightfully overturned. We are grateful beyond words for their persistence and dedication, as well as their compassion. We are humbled by the many other survivors who have either founded MCVRC, or "found" MCVRC, as we did, who have provided great emotional and court support to us. Russell Butler's dedication in continuing to pursue legislation favoring victims has provided relief to us and other victims - we are grateful to him beyond words. There are no adequate words to provide what our experience has been like, in our "new life", but the many others that are a part of the support group that we frequently attend have gone to great lenghts to assist us in finding our "new normal", and we wouldn't be here without them.
I encountered MCVRC in my job search when planning an move to Maryland. After interviewing with one of the founders and the executive director, I learned and felt the splendor of what is being done here on behalf of victims and or survivors. As a survivor that fell through the cracks 8 years and had no rights, no represntation and no real voice, I was moved and only wished a program like this existed in my home state when I was dealing with the murder of my 13 year old nephew. I have watched MCVRC positively change lives in many ways and I am just in awe at how much the entire team individually cares about everyone.
I wanted to make sure my review was listed as a board member as well, because I belive in MCVRC so much that I sit on the board. I have been a member of the MCVRC for twenty years. In the course I have turned a tragic loss in homicide into a mission of my heart. The participation in legislation support, community involvement and peer support of surviving families of homicide have been a result of the mission of the MCVRC. Twenty years ago this was the only agency that reached out to me. What is more surpricing is since no other agency has offered.
Shooting victim and Husband of slain Sharon L. Wiggs (2/1992)
I have been a member of the MCVRC for twenty years. In the course I have turned a tragic loss in homicide into a mission of my heart. The participation in legislation support, community involvement and peer support of surviving families of homicide have been a result of the mission of the MCVRC. Twenty years ago this was the only agency that reached out to me. What is more surpricing is since no other agency has offered.
Shooting victim and Husband of slain Sharon L. Wiggs (2/1992)
I’m grateful to God for giving you and your husband the strength and grace to take on this awesome responsibility. One which I can’t put into words is most needed. I know it’s difficult having to suffer the loss of a child, but MCVRC purpose has saved many lives and given them a safe haven as they navigate through such a devastating part of their lives.
It’s because of you two and the efforts of the MCVRC that people like us whose lives have been impacted by homicides have victim rights. Your efforts will impact people in years to come. Thank you for your diligence and I’m happy to know this part of the road has been named in Stephanie’s honor.
May God continue to bless and keep you all as you continue living and giving of your services unselfishly. For I know you all could have chosen to privately grieve and remember your baby girl without ever coming forward to help others. Thank you and have a wonderful day!
Melody & Alphonzo Harris
The Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center
The Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center (MCVRC) has assisted numerous individuals and families who have been victimized by crime in Maryland for over thirty years. It is the only agency that comes to mind that offers FREE services to crime victims. Services offered include counseling, court accompaniment, victim assistance, restitution assistance, legal services, and other services to fulfill victims’ needs.
Most of the existing victim laws in the State of Maryland are due to the hard work of the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center and its workers, board members, and other victim professionals associated with the center. I never had any involved exposure to the legislature until I became involved with bill proposals concerning victims’ rights. The resource center staff taught me a great deal about the legislative process and I am grateful for that. One of the biggest achievements was getting the Maryland State Constitutional Amendment on Victims’ Rights passed in 1994 by the largest majority of any other state.
Anne Arundel County and some of the other jurisdictions surrounding Prince George’s County do not have an active homicide support group and they depend on the free services rendered by the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center. Many homicide survivors in Anne Arundel County have been referred by me and others to the center so they could receive the services they need.
The Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center has offices in Prince George’s County and in Baltimore City. It does tremendous outreach to Western Maryland, the Eastern Shore, Southern Maryland as well as Central Maryland. Employed workers as well as volunteers travel wherever needed to provide the care and services that victims need. There is a very strong commitment of the staff, volunteers, and board members towards assisting crime victims.
I have worked with the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center throughout its thirty years and find it to be a great resource and a very worthy organization. I serve as a board member for the center and am very proud of the center’s work. Statewide, center members and its affiliates worked hard to get the Maryland State Constitutional Amendment for Victims’ Rights passed in 1994. The MCVRC has worked over ten years on the federal constitutional amendment for victims’ rights. The center has also worked nationally with getting churches and religious organizations involved with victim services. Special programs and commitments have been done with victims of identity theft and elderly crime victims. MCVRC continues to strive in meeting all crime victims’ needs and trying to fill in wherever there are gaps. I am very proud to be associated with the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center and all the various positive impacts it has had on people.
Debra Tall, Program Director, Juvenile/Victim Assistance Section
Anne Arundel County Police Dept.
8495 Veterans Hwy
Millersville, MD 21108
For our family, the day that defines our lives is June 10, 2001. It is the day our youngest son, Michael, and his friend, Lea Anne Brown, were attacked, brutally beaten, kidnapped and murdered. A group of five men had been on a crime spree throughout the evening, and Mike and Lea became the
ultimate victims of their rampage. Our, family, previously untouched by anything remotely like this, was stricken with grief and confusion, and we were torn apart, not knowing which way to turn.
Soon after, we learned of the Stephanie Roper Committee and Foundation support group. At that first meeting, I met a group of compassionate, understanding people who shared their stories. Words can never adequately convey the appreciation we have for the support we received from the caring people of the MCVRC. From explaining and accompanying us to the numerous court proceedings to just having an understanding ear to listen or shoulder to cry on when needed, someone was always there for us. Because of their diligent work over the years to assure that victims like us had rights, we were notified in advance of all proceedings and were able to be present at all of the trials. The road of the last eleven years has been easier because of their help.
People often assume that when the trials are finished, there is nothing left for survivors to do but heal. Nothing could be further from the truth. In our case, a new trial was granted to one of the defendants. The future will hold parole hearings and other possible proceedings. We now know that our family will always be fortunate to have the support of the MCVRC.
The Patten Family
. October 24, 2012
I write to applaud and recommend the services of the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center.
On January 5, 2011 my son Terrance C. Hunter was shot and killed in Prince George’s County, MD.
I found out about the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center through the Register of Wills at the Upper Marlboro Courthouse.
The Register of Wills informed me that the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center provides support for families who lives have been impacted by homicide.
I was unaware that such a service was available to survivors in need of peer support. Upon my arrival, I was surprise to discover the wide range of services that aided me through the most difficult time in my life. The organization not only prepared me for trial proceedings, but held my hand as they guided and assisted me with legal counsel, bereavement support along with introductions to others with similar experiences.
As a result of their unselfish assistance, concern, and perseverance; justice for my son prevailed. Without hesitation I credit this agency with providing life supporting services and I would refer any survivor to seek their help.
I attribute much of the success to its leadership, vision and dedication to people who are suffering such as myself.
It is truly an honor and a privilege to be part of such a dynamic and courageous organization as The Maryland Crime Victim Resource Center.
Ella C. Hunter, Survivor
It was indeed an honor to be at the 30th anniversary event. You & your organization have made such a tremendous positive impact on so many lives. This was clearly seen at the event in which I met so many wonderful people whose lives had been greatly helped in moving from being a victim to survivors & thrivers. You are an huge inspiration to this field & we appreciate all you do & continue to do for others.
. Dear Mr. & Mrs. Roper,
I have not ever been a victim of a violent crime nor has any member of my family. Yet, as so many others, I am totally awed by you & all who have worked with you over the past 30 years. (I had the honor of meeting you in 1982, at a staff member’s home. My brother, David Kelly, was an assistant MD State’s Attorney who knew Kurt Wolfgang. I have been moved & inspired by you ever since that time.) Thank you for your courage, effort & energy that seems to have no bounds& what has been a major r the influence on me, your ability & willingness to turn the most profound adversity into such positive attitude & work that has helped every single citizen of Maryland & the entire country. I am so grateful; to have met you years ago.
Sincerely, Katherine Kelly
My husband & I & our kids went to UMUC & saw the 30th anniversary exhibit. Stephanie’s work was amazing! It was bittersweet to be so close to the very paper that she had touched & put herself into. My heart ached for myself, but more for you & your family. As I neared the end of the exhibit, I was overwhelmed by the testimonies of people that MCVRC has helped. I immediately thought of the scripture in Romans 8:28 that says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” & in Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” I’m sure you & your husband would never wish your experience on anyone else, but I thank God for how you have made something good come out of it! Clearly, you have helped save the emotional & spiritual lives of many, many people through your organization. On behalf of so many people who have needed you, thank you.
Michelle Racine Baker
I write this to send congratulations on the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the organization established in Stephanie’s memory. I hope, as you look back over the past 30 years, you are able to see just a glimpse of the overwhelming impact you have had on the citizens of Maryland. As changes were being made in Maryland to help victims & survivors of crime, the country watched … the world watched. The legacy of a young lady attending Frostburg State University has changed the world. For this you have to be proud. May Stephanie’s memory be a blessing … always!
With gratitude, Warren & Pat Lupson