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By Tasha Mahurin
State Senator Becky Massey, Knox County Commissioner Ed Shouse, Knoxville 311 Director Russ Jensen, Fountain City Lions and a host of others met at Fountain City Park last week for a tree planting ceremony held in honor of Bill Williams by the Tennessee Board of Parole and the Tennessee Department of Corrections.
Williams, a former co-anchor of WBIR’s 10 News, retired in 2000 as one of the area’s most highly respected broadcast journalists.
He was recognized for the difference he made in the lives of hundreds of children through the Monday’s Child adoption series he started at WBIR in 1980. In over 30 years of programming Williams introduced 1,500 special needs children to the viewing audience. Children identified as “special needs” by the Department of Child Services included older children, sibling groups, and minorities, while some faced more severe physical or mental challenges. More than 1,000 of those children found permanent homes with loving families.
An Elm tree was appropriately planted in Williams’ honor at Fountain City Park just between the clubhouse and the playground. The event was scheduled to coincide with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 21-27). Victims’ rights is another cause Williams has long advocated.
Fountain City Lions Club member Bob Davis told The Focus that is was particularly fitting to hold this event at Fountain City Park since it was the initial setting for Monday’s Child and many following tapings were set there.
“This tree planting stands as a simple reminder that we have more work to do, more growing to do. It also stands as a reminder of survivors, growing stronger each day,” fellow victims’ rights advocate and Knoxville 311 Director, Russ Jensen, told The Focus.
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week affords victim service providers, allied professionals, and concerned community members an opportunity to reflect on the history of crime victims’ rights—on the many obstacles already overcome and the new challenges that require new solutions.
“All too often, victims are overlooked, taken advantage of, and re-victimized by a system that gives more rights to perpetrators than law abiding citizens. Victim’s Rights week is a time for us to come together and refocus our commitment to making our community safer for everyone and to making sure victims have the support, services, and representation they need and deserve,” Jensen added.
Although retired, Williams continues to be involved at Channel 10 and remains active in the community.