Three Iowans honored with service awards

Crime Victims’ Rights week began April 21 and runs through Saturday

Mike Wiser
Published: April 25 2013 | 10:04 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 2:30 pm in
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DES MOINES — Two law enforcement officers and the founder of a battered women’s shelter received state awards Thursday.

U.S. Postal Inspector Tina Nobis of Waterloo, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Mike Roehrkasse of Cedar Falls and Mary Ingham, executive director of the Crisis Intervention Service in Mason City, earned awards for their work on behalf of crime victims.

The awards were given during a National Crime Victims’ Rights Week observance at the Jessie Parker Building in Des Moines. Crime Victims’ Rights week began April 21 and runs through Saturday.

Nobis began her law enforcement career as a 20-year-old recruit for the Waterloo Police Department and has served as an inspector since 2002.

She received the Continuous Service Award for her advocacy on behalf of white-collar crime victims. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa Sean Berry said Nobis worked on some of the state’s most infamous cases, such as the case of Jack Straw, a law enforcement officer-turned-financial adviser who swindled the elderly, and the collapse of Peregrine Financial Group.

“I never understood going to a call, taking down information and just walking away,” Nobis said. “To the victims, it never ends.”

Roehrkasse was given the Single Act Award for his work with the parents of missing cousins Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, and Elizabeth Collins, 8. The girls were reported missing in July 2012 and their bodies were found in a wooded area in December.

“In the faces of Lyric and Elizabeth, we saw our daughters, our granddaughters, our nieces, our sisters,” Roehrkasse said as he accepted the award, pausing to get his words out.

When Ingham started her work on behalf of battered women, Mason City didn’t have an overnight shelter. Women seeking a safe place for the evening had to rely on the kindness of friends, relatives or strangers to let them in for the night.

“Not the best situation,” said Karl Schilling, president of the Iowa Organization for Victim Assistance, who presented Ingham with the John and Kay Egan award. “They do now.”

The award is given to an individual who has performed outstanding services to victims in Iowa.

Ingham, who joked that she was a “buzzkill at parties” when people asked what she did for a living, said she still believes that she has the best job in the world.

“I meet people at their lowest moments in their lives, and I help and watch them heal,” she said.
 

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