Cpl. Andrew S. Loudin of the West Virginia State Police was honored as the 2013 Champion for Children Professional Award winner by the Randolph-Tucker Children's Advocacy Center Friday evening.
Loudin received the distinction for his commitment to prioritizing the protection, care and success of children, while still maintaining the integrity of families in Randolph and Tucker counties, officials said.
"Cpl. Loudin has an extraordinary talent to connect with young victims, making them comfortable enough to talk about something that would be unimaginable to most of us," said Sharon Bedford, executive director of the Randolph-Tucker County Children's Advocacy Center.
In her nomination of Loudin for this award, Peggy Johnson, director of the trauma-focused therapy unit at Youth Health Service, Inc., said, "Just one month after last year's Champion for Children celebration, Shannon Loudin was seriously wounded while working to carry out his mission of protecting children. While waiting to hear what would happen to our friend, our teammate, our hero, there were many tears and many, many prayers. And we were blessed! Not only did Shannon survive, he returned to this work. And not only did he return to this work, he did so with the same dedication, determination and commitment to the children that he has always fought so diligently to protect-the same laugh, same easy going manner, same unconditional acceptance of kids, helping them feel safe to tell their story."
Loudin attended Fairmont State College and has been a State Police officer since 2003. Prior to attending college, he owned his own construction company. Upon graduation from the Police Academy, he was stationed in Elkins until 2008 when he transferred to the Crimes Against Children Unit, in which he specializes in many different aspects of child abuse for 10 counties.
"I've always wanted to have the opportunity to make lives better for children and have been blessed to have my career path lead me to where I am today," Loudin said. "I try to surround myself with good people and rely on my faith to guide me through each day."
Loudin and his wife Sabrina have three daughters, Emma, 13, Abby, 9, and Mya, 2. They reside in Buckhannon.
Loudin said he accepts the award with mixed emotions.
"There are lots of good people that deserve this award," Loudin said. "I am humbled to have received this."
Other awards given to community partners at Friday's awards dinner include Carol Meader, Women's Aid in Crisis, Randolph County Family Resource Network and Tucker County Family Resource Network.
"It is so wonderful to have a sold-out event tonight," said Bedford. "It shows how much support we have from the community for the protection of our children."
The Elm Street Allycats and West Virginia Highland Dancers provided entertainment for the dinner, held at Saint Brendan Catholic Church. Additional information about the Randolph-Tucker Children's Advocacy Center is available by calling 304-630-2214.