Editor’s Note: The Blue Ribbon Walk, which benefits Junior’s House Child Advocacy Center, is set for April 12 at 10 a.m. at Stonebridge Park. For more information about becoming a sponsor, please contact Junior’s House at 438-3233. Following is a story explaining how the blue ribbon came to represent an effort to prevent child abuse.
The Blue Ribbon story starts in Virginia in 1989 when grandmother, Bonnie W. Finney, tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her van, hoping people would wonder why. Her story is a tragic one about the abuse of her grandchildren and brutal death of her grandson.
Bonnie’s grandson was placed in foster care after being released from the hospital for severe bruising on his body and cigarette burns on his hands. Three weeks later, he was returned to his mother’s care, and his grandmother never saw him again.
When her granddaughter was hospitalized for a severe beating, a leg that was broken in four places and burns on her hands, they started looking for her grandson. They learned that he had been killed, wrapped in a sheet and stuffed in a toolbox that was dumped in the swamp.
Bonnie’s grandchildren suffered, and in her efforts to understand what happened, she placed a blue ribbon on her antenna to make people wonder. People asked her, “Why blue?” She said the ribbon is a plea for child abuse to stop and it is a constant reminder of the battered and bruised bodies of her grandchildren.
The story of Bonnie Finney demonstrates the effect that just one concerned citizen can have on raising public awareness of child abuse and our need to prevent it.