The skits had not even began for the Family Violence Sexual Assault Unit’s third annual Throwback Thursday show fundraiser for the Child Advocacy Center, but Director for Family Violence Prevention Nancy Turner was already giddy about seeing a full house of patrons supporting the cause at the Golden Leaf Commons.
“Wow,” Turner said. “We are overwhelmed. We’ve had the highest ticket sales we’ve ever had. It’s phenomenal. I couldn’t appreciate the community any more.”
The event brought local talent to the stage reenacting there favorite performers from the past. Charles Harris and Jessica Harris didn’t lip sync when they stepped on the stage for the first musical number. They play the part of Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, respectively, and belted out a version of “LA Woman, Mississippi Man’” that drew a loud, positive reaction from the crowd.
There duo was not quite finished, though when they came out after intermission it was as solo artists. Jessica singing “Take it Back”, while playing the part of Reba McIntyre. Charles followed as Billy Ray Cyrus belting out his version of “Achy Breaky Heart”.
A new twist to this year’s event was bringing the state champion E.W. Wyatt Junior BETA Dance Group to the stage to perform its routine that earned it an upcoming summer trip to Oklahoma City for the National BETA Convention. Blair Dickens, Hannah Wells, Savannah Phelps, Bryanna Gizzard, Inez Smith, Von Lingo and Addison Swenson certainly set the tone for the evening with their dance routine, but the mission of the evening was to support FSVAU.
FSVAU is a non-profit governmental unit run with grant money from the federal and state government. FSVAU member Ginger Wrenn said that donations and fundraisers such as the Thursday event are needed to assist for a group that served more than 600 annually the past three years. Last month 72 people received help from the FSVAU.
Those covered include men, women and children of all ages in the City of Emporia and the counties of Greensville, Sussex and Brunswick. A 24-hour hotline is set up for those in need.
When the calls come for assistance the wheels are quickly put in motion.
“When we have victims leave in the middle of the night, they leave with nothing,” Wrenn said. “They have nothing but the clothes on their back and maybe a few items they were able to grab.”
Wren said victims often leave a situation with no money and no employment. FSVAU has helped with security deposits, utility deposits or transportation for victims. One-hundred percent of the proceeds from Thursday’s show will be put back into the community for victims of family violence or children in need.
Commonwealth Attorney Patty Watson, Greensville County Sheriff W.T. (Tim) Jarratt and Emporia Police Chief Ricky Pinksaw head agencies that have to work with victims needing help from FSVAU. All three did their part Thursday with their own skits.
Jarratt and Boot Roach were dressed as the Blues Brothers and lip-synced “Soul Man” with a few added dance moves.Watson played the role of Shania Twain and sang “I Feel Like a Woman” with backup dancers Michael Jones, Allen Thomas, Joel Mayle and Ray wood dressed in drag. Pinks was joined by Dave Shidell and Chris Link and performed “Man of Constant Sorrow” as the Soggy Bottom Boys.
Many acts graced the stage bringing laughter, applause and cheers from the audience. A night of fun for many will provide needed revenue to help FSVAU provide its critical services, possibly lifesaving to victims caught in a desperate situation.