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Letter: How the Family Crisis Council got its start

How the Family Crisis Council got its start

Editor’s note: Elizabeth Patton, longtime director of the Family Crisis Council, recently died. The writer is looking back on how the original Rape, Child Abuse and Family Crisis Council began.

The Council on the Status of Woman was established by the county commissioners in 1977, in Salisbury, with representation from all areas of the county. I was the China Grove representative, appointed by my mayor, and subsequently elected president of the organization.

We board members — and we had some men on our board too — decided to establish a Rape, Child and Family Abuse Crisis Council in Rowan County to fill a desperate need. I was the founder of this council, and served as its first executive director. I chose the board of directors, which consisted of some outstanding community leaders, and we met in a facility loaned to us by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury.

I must have spoken to every civic group in the county about our fine organization, and eventually, the Crisis Council came under the umbrella of the United Way. It turned independent, and has been serving the women of Rowan County since.

In 1978, I was named Rowan County’s Young Woman of the Year, largely due to the work I had done establishing the Crisis Council. However, it was, and remains to this day, the result of a group effort put forth by the distinguished board that made up the Status of Women Council. We fought women’s illiteracy, and stood up for the indigent and made known to our women all the benefits and privileges they were entitled to.

We are, as a group, extremely proud of the work we did in Rowan County, but our crowning glory remains the Rape, Child Abuse and Family Crisis Council.

— Jan McCanless

China Grove

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