Recipient of 2018 Distinguished Victim Services Award.
Jacksonville's Carl Harms received the 2018 Distinguished Victim Services Award, presented by Attorney General Pam Bondi during the state's observance of National Crime Victims Week.
He is one of three victim advocates in Florida honored this year for service that “goes beyond the call of duty” and has an impact on the community.
His work with victims includes helping them craft impact statements that provide family members an opportunity to talk about their loved ones in court.
In 2017, Harms published “Grief Diaries,” a collection of victim impact statements entered into court records by people he helped as they dealt with their loss.
“The families of crime victims go through so many different emotions and thoughts after losing a loved one,” Harms said in a news release. “My goal has always been to be there for them however I can.”
Harms became a victim himself in 2007 when his father was killed in an automobile collision in Louisiana caused by a woman who was driving while intoxicated. That experience inspired him to work with the Compassionate Families nonprofit grief recovery group and to create a DUI awareness program that he presents in schools.
He also helped establish “World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims,” which was adopted in Jacksonville Nov. 19 by a proclamation from Mayor Lenny Curry.
“Carl is the gold standard. He develops relationships with victims' families and guides them with genuine care and concern. His victim advocacy is not a job, it's a calling,” said State Attorney Melissa Nelson.