Letter to the editor: Sheriff Hartman works hard to help protect children

Published 11:42 am Friday, May 6, 2022

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To the editor:

I wear lots of hats – executive director  of a non-profit, involved citizen, daughter, sister, and the list goes on.  The hat that I’m most proud to wear is that of “mom.”

My late-husband and I have one biological son and three adopted daughters. We were also temporary “mom and dad” to eight other children who came into our home from the foster care system.

I have seen children who came to us filthy, hungry, neglected, abused, and traumatized. I have taken children to hospitals to have blood work done and their hair cut, to send off for hair follicle testing, as drug exposure proof was needed so officers could build a case. I have watched scared children tell their story – many who had been threatened to never tell anyone what had been done to them.  I’ve held those children, after trying days, as they cried, shook, and threw up from the nerves and fear of what they had endured.

When we moved to Davie County, our home was full and so we did not serve here as foster parent, but those children were still very close to my heart. When JD Hartman and a few other concerned and passionate citizens decided something needed to be done, I was delighted. I have watched that idea come to fruition and am thankful for the many children who have benefited from the work done to create The Dragonfly House.

JD was a founding member of The Dragonfly House and served as president for many years. He also served on the Board of Directors for Davie Domestic Violence for more than 10 years. My involvement in the NC foster care system showed a pattern that child neglect/abuse/trauma and domestic violence often go hand-in-hand. Both before and after becoming sheriff, JD saw those things and has actively worked to do something about it.

The county I previously lived in did not have a program like The Dragonfly House. Children weren’t able to go to one location to have multiple needs met and children were emotionally drained from the long procedures of talking to investigators, doctors, and therapists, along with the medical exams that were needed, as I took them to appointment after appointments. The children needed help and the sheriff’s office often needed to build a case against the abuser … meaning the children were stuck in the middle … with the key to much of the case. It was simply heartbreaking to be a part of.

We are so blessed to have Sheriff Hartman in Davie County. His insight and hard work have helped to create a child advocacy center that benefits so many children in our community. As a mama to hurting children, I see how vital this resource is and know that other counties I have served in would have greatly benefitted from a program like ours.

Sheriff Hartman is a great man, a dedicated sheriff, a devoted friend, a selfless community volunteer, and has a heart that shows deep compassion for our most vulnerable- and sometimes voiceless citizens.

It is my honor to vote for JD Hartman for Sheriff of Davie County and when I enter the polling booth, I check that box beside his name on behalf of the many children I served who would have benefited from his work – and for the many who will continue to be served because of the continuous work JD puts in to make Davie County a better place.

Melanie Forbes Cook