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NSA Mid-South hosts community Lantern Walk

Star Staff Reports

Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins

Naval Support Activity Mid-South (NSAMS) is inviting the local community to join the Suzanne Collins Memorial Lantern Procession on April 7, at 6:45 p.m. to remember Lance Corporal Suzanne Collins and to raise awareness of impact of sexual assault on not only the individual, but the community.
The procession will begin at Glen Eagle Golf course and will begin with remarks from NSAMS Commanding Officer Capt. Douglas Walker. The course will follow a lake on the golf course and will be manned by Marines and Sailors. Individuals are encouraged to make and bring their own lanterns which can be donated at the end of the processional for use in a display on base.
Like civilian counterparts, the Navy is working to develop meaningful and effective responses to those victimized by rape and other sexually violent crimes.
“Awareness of the problem is a first step in strengthening prevention and response strategies,” said Suzanna Parkinson, sexual assault victim advocate on NSAMS. “Those strategies include ensuring that all victims can safely report; expanding services; increasing cultural competence of leadership; protecting privacy and confidentiality; building partnerships with the community and increasing the overall organizational capacity of the military to care for its members.”
The rape and murder of Lance Cpl. Collins impacted not only the Navy base, but the greater Millington and Shelby County communities, as well.  Several, local law enforcement agencies were directly involved in the investigation of the case, which was then successfully adjudicated by the Shelby County Attorney General’s office.
“Because this terrible tragedy was experienced by so many throughout the community, the Fleet and Family Support Center and the Morale, Welfare and Recreation department with the support of NSA Mid-South are hoping to engage the community in this event to remember Suzanne,” said Parkinson.
At the same time, the event will raise awareness of the problem of sexual violence within the military branches, as well as the community at large and shed light on the efforts being made by the Navy to address this issue. In bringing the Navy base and civilian communities together to honor Suzanne’s memory, we are also creating an environment of acknowledgment and support for all victims of sexual violence.
For more information, call Susanna Parkinson at 874-7423.

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