MIAMI COUNTY — For more than 14 years, when victims needed a voice, it was Cheryl Iddings who spoke on their behalf.
Iddings served as a Miami County Victim Witness staff member for more than a decade. Her last day on the job in the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office was last Friday. Iddings served as an advocate for victims of crime, first as a volunteer for three years and then as a full-time staff member for the last 11 years.
Iddings shared how she saw an ad in the newspaper seeking volunteers and the opportunity spoke to her heart.
“So I came in for the volunteer training and I loved it. I volunteered for three years and then when one of the advocates left, I was offered the job and I’ve been here ever since,” Iddings shared. “I just thought it would be interesting and help victims of crime and all that it entails.”
Iddings served the community at the scene of a crime or accident, guiding those in need through the lengthy — and oftentimes arduous — legal process. She held countless victims’ hands, passed thousands of tissues, and read letters from victims when they were unable to express their emotions during sentencing hearings.
Iddings said that the spark of light in an often dark area of society is watching the system bring justice to the victims of various crimes.
“The most joy is when the bad guy goes to jail — when the defendant gets found guilty if there’s a trial and they go to jail that just makes my little heart happy,” she explained.
Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell spoke fondly of Iddings’ service during his tenure in the prosecutor’s office.
“We’ve been together for many, many years. She’s been my advocate back in the old days. She’ll be sorely missed. She’s been outstanding in every aspect of her job and she always goes above and beyond,” said Kendell on Friday. “I’m happy for her, but it’s a blow to the office.”
With retirement fresh on the horizon, Iddings said she’ll likely stay busy with more volunteer work or toy with the idea of enjoying the down time for a stretch.
“I may eat bon-bons and watch ‘Dr. Phil.’ I’m kidding. I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Iddings said.
Whatever Iddings might decide to do, she’ll be cheering on her fellow advocates and following the work of the local justice system.
“Tony Kendell has been very good to me, and my years here and everybody I have worked for has been very sweet, very kind and I love them all and I’m going to miss them all terribly,” Iddings said, wiping away a tear.
Iddings, a resident of Troy, is the proud grandmother of five and great-grandmother of one.
Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews