Knabe Honored at Norwalk Council Meeting
Honoring Knabe: (l-r) Councilmen Leonard Shryock, Luigi Vernola, Supervisor Don Knabe , and Mayor Mike Mendez during the ceremony honoring Knabe’s years of service.
By Tammye McDuff
Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe, one of the most recognizable figures in local politics, terms out of office, December 5, 2016, after 20 years on the county board and 36 years in public office.
Knabe has made it a point to visit each City Council in his district, to say his farewells and offer his sincere gratitude for the many people that have touched his life and career since first elected to the Cerritos Council in 1980.
On August 16th, Knabe and staff paid their final goodbyes to the Norwalk City Council. Numerous city service groups went to the podium to speak about his dedication, to thank him for his support and to congratulate him for his many accomplishments and community programs.
One such program is the Safe Surrender Program, which allows young mothers to give up unwanted newborns. Established in 2001, the Safe Surrender program allows a parent or legal guardian to confidentially handover an infant, three days old or younger, to any hospital emergency room, fire station or other designated Safe Surrender site, as long as the baby has not been abused or neglected.
“The Safe Surrender Program continues to be my proudest accomplishment,” says Knabe, ”some parents of newborns can find themselves in difficult circumstances. Sadly, babies are sometimes harmed or abandoned by parents who feel that they’re not ready or able to raise a child, or don’t know there are other options. Many of these mothers or fathers are afraid and don’t know where to turn for help.”
As each Norwalk service organization acknowledged Knabe for the execution and fulfillment to improve the City, they made a donation to the Safe Surrender Program. By the end of the Council meeting over $2,500 had been collected and donated by residents.
As a final gesture, a Norwalk family of three approached the dais. The mother and father introduced themselves and with a tearful introduction, began to convey their story and the final adoption of their daughter through the Safe Surrender Program. The young girl approached Knabe and handed him a white rose, simply saying ‘thank you’. There wasn’t a dry eye in the Council chambers.
“It’s just almost overwhelming when you see these families, to see the joy in the families,” he said. “If you ask me, it’s what I’m most proud of in my career.”
This most recent Safe Surrender occurred on Sunday, April 10 at a hospital in Santa Monica. “I am thrilled to hear that a mother made the better choice and gave her child a second chance at life by safely surrendering them,” said Supervisor Knabe. “Thanks to the courage of this mother, a baby now has the opportunity to grow up in a loving family. Though we’ve been able to save the lives of 145 babies so far, we need to continue spreading the word that there is a safe, secure and anonymous way for mothers to get their baby into safe hands—at any fire station or hospital, any time—and protect them from abandonment—No Shame. No Blame. No Names.”
This is the third Safe Surrender in Los Angeles County in 2016, and the 145th since the program began 15 years ago.
The City also donated fifteen computers and a painted portrait of Supervisor Knabe to the Norwalk Junior Golf Academy, to which he has provided funding.
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